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PDF firm Nitro raises $15m for investment in machine learning

Adobe Acrobat rival Nitro has raised $15 million in a Series C round led by Battery Ventures.

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Sam Chandler, founder and CEO of Nitro

Image: Grant Sukchindasathien

PDF company Nitro announced on Tuesday that it has raised $15 million in a Series C round led by existing investor Battery Ventures.

Australian investment management firms Regal Funds Management and Alium Capital also participated in the latest round, which brings the total amount raised by the San Francisco-headquartered company since its founding to $36.6 million.

Sam Chandler, founder and CEO of Nitro, said it chose Regal and Alium as investors because of their expertise in Australian public listings. He admitted, however, that the company is not planning on going public, though it is open to the prospect of listing on the Australian Securities Exchange to raise capital in the future.

"Over our 12-year journey, we have consistently evaluated all of our options to fully capitalise the business and provide liquidity to shareholders and employees," Chandler told ZDNet. "We have always had the goal of building a world-class business with truly global scale, and if our size and growth profile mean that an IPO makes sense and will further those ambitions, we'll consider it."

Nitro -- which was founded in Melbourne in 2005 -- said the funds will be used to support continued growth in the enterprise market by hiring sales and marketing people. The company's headcount currently stands at about 200.

In 2015 and 2016, Nitro's enterprise sales had grown 49 percent and 31 percent respectively, with its total number of customers now surpassing 600,000, the company said.

While Chandler acknowledged that Nitro has evolved from a small startup in Melbourne to a global enterprise software company, hitting many milestones along the way, it doesn't want to rest on its laurels.

"We feel like we still have so much left to achieve," Chandler said.

Nitro, which considers itself the "leading" alternative to Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Document Cloud, said it will also use the funding to support research and development efforts to make documents smarter through the application of machine learning and natural language processing technologies.

"Natural language processing and machine learning will play a big part in Nitro's product roadmap by enabling the automation of tasks and insights. For example, we can pre-fill forms, shrinking a common productivity task from minutes to seconds. Or we can detect anomalies in document workflows by analysing the content of those documents," Chandler said.

"Our future is geared toward giving CIOs more visibility into their workflow processes by leveraging the power of big data in the enterprise. We have a lot of exciting stuff on the roadmap and we're engaged with some of the biggest companies in the world to help shape that roadmap."