Papermill wasn’t the first business idea that David White brought to Business Sheffield. Originally, he planned on creating a new programme for collating comments on academic conference papers. It was during a business Sheffield workshop that he realised there were structural issues in the market for his product, which sparked a lot of new ideas.
These evolved into Papermill: a word processor focused on making professional design and presentation easy. As David puts it, “You know when you’re struggling with formatting in Word or Google Docs, and you end up wanting to throw your laptop out of the window in frustration? Papermill lets you focus on the content: you write what you want to, drop in other bits like images, tell Papermill what you want it to look like, and it does the rest.” It’s designed to save time, especially when collaborating, and to help smaller businesses that can’t call on a designer but need documents to look professional.
In 2018, when he was still working on his first idea, David began accessing one-to-one business support from Morgan Killick, a Business Advisor with Business Sheffield. The Business Advisors are a team of experts, successful business people in their own right, who work with us to provide tailored, specialist support with all aspects of business. As his thinking changed, he says, Morgan helped him break things down and stay on track: “Ok, David, let’s work through this one first.”
“I think Morgan’s given me advice on everything,” says David, “from funding and potential co-founders right at the start, to identifying my target market. The biggest thing for me has been his support with the investment process. He he’s gone through it before, he knows what the terms mean in the legal documentation, and he was able to give me some guidance through the process. Having someone to talk to informally before meeting with my solicitor was really helpful. He's gone above and beyond.”
For Papermill, 2022 is all about building a team and getting a product out there to get feedback from the market. David has been working full time on the business since mid December 2021 when he completed fundraising, and is amazed by how much more he can get done. “When I started,” he says, “I thought this would just be a small business. Working with Business Sheffield has made me realise its full potential. I feel very privileged to be in this position.”