First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Marco Grossi: Being based in Barcelona, these past few months have been extremely difficult. With the high infection rate and the harsh lockdown which followed, we have seen the extent to which Covid-19 has left its mark on the city and the rest of Spain. However, we are very fortunate that no one in the family nor the team has been affected.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded, or Joined iLovePDF
Marco Grossi: iLovePDF offers free tools to help people edit PDF documents online, offline and through their mobile devices. The idea first occurred to me back in 2010 when I tried to merge two PDF files and it took me more than 20 minutes. It was quite a struggle despite my technological background, so I couldn’t even imagine how it might be for a non-technical person! I initially created a tool to Merge and Split PDFs to fulfill a personal need. Then I realized that there wasn’t any free online software to manage PDFs, so I shared what I had created.
How does iLovePDF innovate?
Marco Grossi: In our case, it’s quite simple. We see what is already out there, or what people need in relation to PDFs. Then we see how we can provide this service in a way that can be quick, easy, and accessible to everyone. We listen very closely to feedback and suggestions from users. Then we go on to prioritizing and developing the next new PDF tool.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business and how are you Coping?
Marco Grossi: At the beginning of March a week or so before being quarantined, we made the decision to work remotely. We purchased all the necessary materials so that every employee could keep on doing their job without any problems. Fortunately, being a completely online service meant that this could be easily done, and our company remained active – business as usual.
We gradually returned to the office at the end of June but have taken many safety measures. We take turns so that only half of the (small) team is present in the office at one time to ensure plenty of space. We wear masks and apply the sanitizing gel on entering the office. Everyone has lunch outdoors in the park so that they can be at a safe distance from each other.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety?
Marco Grossi: We have had quite a stressful time this year. We moved into our new office in January and haven’t really had the opportunity to enjoy it fully. We had to cancel some events, which we have postponed to next year. On a personal note, I have also had to cancel my wedding abroad. This has been quite a blow seeing as the entire team was coming, and guests from other countries.
How did we deal with it? Perspective. When we put things into perspective, we realize that the hiccups we’ve had are really nothing compared to what other people have had to go through during this hard time. Things could have been much worse for us, so we’ve just focused on the positives instead.
How do you Project yourself and iLovePDF in the Future?
Marco Grossi: We recently onboarded two new hires to help us work on exciting new products that we have in the pipeline. However, moving forward, we want to try and keep the team small. At the same time, we’ll make sure we continue to stay ahead of the electronic documentation evolution to meet the future needs of companies, students, teachers, lawyers and governments alike.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to Stay in the Game?
Marco Grossi: To be honest, we do not see any direct competition. This is because the field of digital processing is incredibly vast. There is quite a bit of room for different companies to innovate and create specific services to satisfy people’s needs. This being said, we have great respect for what Adobe has created, which without, we would not be here. What differentiates us from them is that we have taken a purely user-friendly route, by making our tools simple, easy to use, and accessible to everyone.
Your Final Thoughts
Marco Grossi: We often forget that teams are made up of individuals who are faced with a variety of realities upon returning home. Lockdown magnified these realities several times over and gave rise to a number of unexpected challenges. That included distractions, loneliness, having kids, and even breakups.
We needed to be flexible as well as provide flexibility so that everyone could deal with their challenges. That’s why we thank ourselves for being such a tight-knit team. Everyone has each other’s back. This comes from the importance we give at iLovePDF to creating a strong support network.
Even when working from home during the toughest stage of lockdown, we were constantly connected through daily group video calls and communication via Slack. The team was kept engaged through non-work-related Slack calls, virtual social activities such as ‘happy-hour,’ and games. Being able to share anecdotes and problems with everyone is essential during these times and defines a true team.