Document collaboration solutions provider Nitro plans to expand its cloud engineering team to fuel product innovation.

First Round

"Our first round of institutional financing enables us to hire aggressively and build genuinely transformative technology for the entire document lifecycle. We want to bring the 'future of work' here, now," says Sam Chandler, Nitro CEO. The funding comes from Australia-based Starfish Ventures.

Nitro was founded by a 23-year-old Australian in 2005 and is now headquartered in San Francisco. Since 2007, when Sam Chandler became CEO of the company, revenues have more than quadrupled and the company has expanded operations in the US, Europe and Australia, according to the company website.

Nitro vs. Box

The company's Nitro Pro and Nitro Reader document collaboration products have been downloaded by more than 50 million users. Nitro Reader is free to download, and it lets users create PDF files, collaborate and review them and QuickSign documents. The Pro version, which is how the company makes its money, offers more features and starts at US$ 119.99, with volume discounts for 11+ users.

In February 2012, Nitro Reader passed 20 million downloads, which brings the total number of downloads of the free version to 75,000,000.

With the new funding, Nitro should be able to remain competitive with other enterprise collaboration providers, such as Box. According to Nitro, the company has 3 million monthly unique users already. To compare, Box has over 100,000 businesses on their platform (120k was mentioned at their San Francisco conference) and Nitro has 250,000 paying customers using their PDF conversion tool, including Boeing and IBM.

Box was also founded back in 2005 by a young visionary, Aaron Levie. Box was ranked #295 on the 2011 Inc. 5000 Confidence Survey, with a three-year growth of 1107%, US$10.7 million in revenue in 2010, and 125 employees. Nitro came in at #699, with a three-year growth of 454%, US$ 8.9 million in revenue in 2010  and 29 employees. On the list, Nitro ranks #57 in the software industry, and Box comes in at #29. Clearly, Nitro has a lot of ground to cover before it catches up to Box, so this new funding should come in handy.