Here’s a neat, well-deserved win for a startup company: Paper, the critically acclaimed drawing application for iPad is now being featured by Apple on iPad demo units in its retail stores, and is passing the love on to its users, having selected five Paper creators and their journals to share on the demo iPads . Paper developer FiftyThree co-founder Georg Petschnigg also shared in an interview that the app now has over 3.3 million downloads, with over 25 million pages created and representing over 190 years of total time spent in-app by users.
The featured journals Paper selected cover a range of topics, including Architecture, Cartoons, Illustration, Design and Cars, contributed by users Joaquim Mera, Bas van den Broek, Candykiller, Andrew Kim and René Lee, respectively. Petschnigg says that FiftyThree is very diligent about watching Tumblr and Twitter for creations originating from Paper, in order to help some of their most promising users get featured in exactly this kind of scenario. I asked whether he thought this featured spot at Apple Retail might lead to more user attention for Paper itself, but Petschnigg said this is more about drawing attention to what its users are accomplishing through the app.
“For us, the real excitement is that we get to showcase the work people are doing on Paper and really shift people’s perceptions,” he said. “Most people say ‘iPads are only for consumption,’ and that’s just not the case. The first thing we had to do is demonstrate that iPads are for creation, and the second piece is that a lot of people think they’re not creative, and that surprises us.” Being able to showcase this kind of work on a national stage helps with that goal, by reminding users what they’re capable of.
As for the product’s traction and engagement, Petschnigg says he’s very happy with Paper’s progress. The app is consistently in the top 50 or 60, but the engagement numbers are what he says the company really values. The fact that people spend that time within the app on creative activities rather than engaging in more mindless pursuits is very encouraging to the team, Petschnigg said.
Paper’s revenue model is based on a freemium model, and user reviews (which are consistently high) indicate that users are after more premium content, like additional colors, a good sign for a business based on in-app purchase. Paper is also supporting the upcoming Pogo Connect pressure-sensitive stylus by Ten One Design, which, if it works well, could help in convincing even more users that the iPad is indeed a powerful creative tool.