TL; DR: Paperform makes creating beautiful online forms as easy as working with a word processor. The code-free platform, which comes with a free 14-day trial, can be used to create nearly any form for any need. With strategic partnerships on the horizon, the company will soon add more value for the individuals, developers, site-building agencies, entrepreneurs, and SMBs it serves.
When Sydney-based Diony and Dean Mcpherson’s friend Chris asked them to build a custom online form for his holiday program, the couple did what any good friends would do — they obliged.
Chris needed a registration form that he could use to collect information ranging from children’s medical conditions and parental consent signatures to payments. And he wanted the end product to showcase the program’s strong branding.
The couple wondered, though — why didn’t Chris turn to the many solutions available on the market to create an online form?
“When we looked into it, we realized that there were three very clear issues,” Diony told us. “Forms weren’t beautiful. And that matters for engagement. The other thing was they weren’t truly yours — something that looked like your brand. You don’t want to embed something on your site that is jarring — people hesitate or think that you’re unprofessional. There also weren’t many options that were easy to use.”
With the intention to fill these gaps in the market, Paperform was born.
Today, the no-code editor helps users of all kinds — developers, site-building agencies, entrepreneurs, SMBs, and individuals — easily create engaging forms that reflect their brand. Anyone can create stunning online forms regardless of skill level. Users can even insert pictures, videos, and stylized text anywhere on the page.
Forms can be embedded on any website or shared through a custom URL. In addition, users can have submission summaries emailed to them and analyze results with Paperform Analytics. These and several additional features empower users to create online forms that genuinely represent their aesthetic.
Make Forms Beautiful, Engaging, and Personalized
The McPhersons broke into the industry through a strategic partnership with AppSumo in November 2016. AppSumo approached them about including the form builder, still in beta at the time, as part of a package deal. After launching, Paperform quickly picked up 3,000 users.
“Forming relationships with an existing community that we can connect with has been our favorite way to get the word out about Paperform,” Diony said. “We grew 15% to 20% month on month for the first two years based on organic word of mouth and partnerships that led to other partnerships.”
Paperform hasn’t run any similar deals since then; Diony said they can diminish a product’s perceived quality. And Paperform is all about serving as a high-quality production company. Still, launching through AppSumo helped the couple solicit feedback that they then used to take Paperform out of beta.
Diony told us the business is very personal to her and to Dean.
“And he’s a full-stack developer, so he loves building things end to end,” she said. “When he was little, he wanted to be an inventor, and I feel like he’s gotten to do that. He gets to create things, speak words onto a page and make something that exists, that functions.”
Diony had experience working at Google Arts and Culture, where she helped get art collections online. “I realized during that process that it’s never just about an object or a collection; it’s about a brand. It was about identity, narrative, and the stories that they were telling as a whole organization, as well as the micro-stories that they might be telling in a particular exhibition.”
The experience left her with a strong understanding of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design. As business partners, Diony and Dean were uniquely positioned to take on a project like Paperform.
“We’ve always had this dynamic where no matter what we’re doing, we bounce ideas off of each other and get really excited, whether it’s something we’re happy about or frustrated with,” she said. “We have a huge amount of respect for each other’s opinions.”
On a Mission to Democratize Technology
Today, Paperform is packed with features, from intuitive form creation to numerous unique question types, templates, and integrations.
“Our core mission is to democratize technology,” Diony said. “We made a conscious decision to grow this into a company that’s more than just us. It all goes back to Chris, who uses Paperforms to this day to facilitate his needs. He is a very independent person, and we wanted to empower him. And now we want to empower everyone with high-quality products and support.”
Paperform’s customer success team doesn’t just provide customers with quick resolutions — it focuses on educating the client to make the most out of the online form builder. “They get excited, they feel empowered, and they tell other people about it,” Diony said.
The team is focused on serving up an extra dose of compassion lately, understanding that the pandemic has left many people anxious and frustrated.
“If someone is not abusive and they’re just venting, we work to get them through that,” Diony said. “And then by the end of the conversation, they’re just so thankful that you were patient and that you stuck it out with them having a bit of grace and room for redemption.”
She said one user recently referred to Paperform as the Swiss Army Knife of forms.
“We started simple and built it out with our users, whilst maintaining a really clear vision,” she said. “It wasn’t about doing everything that they wanted, but about seeing how the demand fit into where we wanted to take Paperform.”
The couple’s vision is to make Paperform a proprietary eponym — like Kleenex, Band-Aid, or Google. “We want it to become its own beast where people will start saying ‘I want to create a Paperform’ rather than an online form,’” Diony said.
Considering Paperform’s breadth of functionality, that may be the case someday. The form builder now has more than 20 question types, allows users to define their own logic rules, and features a built-in booking system.
“We find that people are using us to create simple sites now as well; we call them landing forms,” Diony said. “You can create a narrative to say who you are, use rich images, capture data, take payments, and use booking services all in one. We even provide support for HTML and CSS.”
Upcoming Product Partnerships
Diony said it’s an interesting time in the evolution of Paperform, which now has a presence in more than 72 countries. The couple recently filed articles of incorporation in California.
“We’re originally an Aussie company, but half of our user base are Americans, and we love the way that people from the U.S. adopt new technology. There’s no fear,” she told us. “Today, our product is still very much Australian-owned, but our customer-facing entity is in the U.S. We love that marriage.”
Paperform has several exciting product partnerships on the horizon.
“We feel like while the product is not feature-complete, it’s incredibly robust and can be wielded in a number of different ways,” she said. “We’re learning how we can better connect with other products. We’re taking the weight of technical debt away, and that’s part of empowering people.”