„Publishing is in peril,“ says Philip Andrews, CEO and co-founder of Liquid State. And no one can despute that he’s right.
Sales, circulation and advertising revenue are all down. And on top of that, bringing your content into the digital realm is expensive and complicated.
With their Software-as-a-Service publishing tool, the makers of Liquid State have created a means of keeping content ‚liquid‘ and ready for various mobile devices and digital platforms.
Based in and funded from Berlin and Brisbane, the startup has already received support from Startupbootcamp in Berlin, as well as over $500,000 from Australian angel investors. We asked the Berlin-based Australian entrepreneur about the SaaS solution to the problems of the publishing world.
„Liquid“ content across all devices
WebMagazin: Tell us a little bit about Liquid State, how does it work?
Philip Andrews: Liquid State is the easiest way to publish and distribute documents to mobile devices. It’s a web-based digital publishing system.
Users upload their content – PDF files, Adobe InDesign documents, even web pages – and our system converts them into flexible HTML pages which look perfect on any device. Users can then publish their documents to their own custom branded apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone.
We take the hassle out of communicating in a digital world.
WebMagazin: What would you say makes Liquid State a special startup? How do you stand out in the Berlin tech scene?
Philip: We’re based in Berlin and Brisbane, Australia, which is not a combination you see very often. In fact, most of us are Australian, and we’ve found that makes us a bit more memorable in Berlin.
Philip Andrews, CEO of Liquid State
© Liquid State
Our focus is on solving a problem in a traditionally B2B space, but we don’t really think of ourselves as a solely B2B solution. The great thing about products like Liquid State is that they enable individuals and beginners to do something which previously only companies and experts could do.
WebMagazin: What stage of development are you in at the moment? How are you being funded?
Philip: We’ve been publicly released for about 18 months, but we’re always adding features and improving the system. Financially, we bootstrapped the company to being with, and last year, we raised money in Australia through a combination of angel investors and a government grant.
WebMagazin: What’s the financial concept behind Liquid State?
Philip: We have a SaaS (Software as a Service) model, so our users pay a monthly or yearly fee, which varies depending on how much content they want to publish.
WebMagazin: How did you come up with the idea for Liquid State?
Philip: You don’t need to be very tech savvy to use a tablet or a smartphone, but to get content onto mobile devices, you do. The barriers to consume digital content and to publish it are complete opposites of each other! I discovered this firsthand when I started to convert some of the print magazines I was publishing into digital magazines.
I started working with the existing digital publishing systems at the time, but they were just really cumbersome and labour intensive. It took me six weeks to convert one issue of a monthly magazine to digital! There’s no way you can make any money with that.
„We’re Gutenberg for the digital age“
Philip: That’s when I met our co-founder and CTO, Cyril, and we started building Liquid State to solve my problem as a publisher. It wasn’t long before we realised publishers weren’t the only ones who needed a simpler way to distribute content to tablets and phones.
WebMagazin: And what were you doing before then?
Philip: I’ve been a publisher for the last 15 years, producing international books and magazines, primarily on photography, Photoshop, and photographic equipment. I’m also a photographer myself, and a writer.
Cyril’s background is in web and mobile development, having worked at Yahoo, and Opera Software.
Liquid State’s software configures content for specific devices
© Liquid State
WebMagazin: And finally, why Berlin?
Philip: Ever since we first brought the company to Berlin to participate in Startupbootcamp back in 2012, we’ve loved the atmosphere and the attitude of the city. People in the Berlin startup community are always ready to support each other, and the city itself is so welcoming.
We’ve built a good network of contacts throughout Europe from Berlin, and we met some of our key advisors there. So many large European publishers have an office in Berlin, which is very handy for us. And the kebabs are cheap, too!