Introducing Kosmik: The Ultimate Visual Canvas with Built-In PDF Reader and Web Browser

Kosmik was founded in 2018 by Paul Rony and Christophe Van Deputte. And that’s when he started to build Kosmic, Rony told TechCrunch, drawing on a prior background in computing history and philosophy. It also features a built-in browser, saving users from having to switch windows when they need to find a relevant website link. Additionally, the platform also sports a PDF reader, which lets the user extract elements such as images and text. “I think that everything revolves around the idea that we do not have the best web browser, text editor or PDF reader,” Rony said.

In recent years, tools such as Figma, TLDraw, Apple’s Freeform, and Arc browser’s Easel functionality have introduced the concept of an ‘infinite canvas’ for capturing and sharing ideas. But French startup Kosmik is taking this idea to the next level with a knowledge-capturing tool that eliminates the need for switching between different windows or apps to gather information.

Founded in 2018 by Paul Rony and Christophe Van Deputte, Kosmik has a unique background in both video production and computing history and philosophy. Rony, who previously worked a junior director at a video production company, wanted a more streamlined approach to capturing and organizing information rather than jumping between files and folders. This led to the creation of Kosmik, a spatial canvas-based UI that utilizes IPFS technology for peer-to-peer collaboration.

“It took us nearly three years to develop a product with essential features like data encryption, offline functionality, and an infinite canvas,” Rony shared with TechCrunch. “We built everything on IPFS, so when two people collaborate, everything is peer-to-peer instead of relying on a server-based architecture.”

Kosmik’s interface offers an infinite canvas where users can easily add text, images, videos, PDFs, and links. These elements can be opened and previewed in a side panel for convenience. The platform also includes a built-in browser and PDF reader, eliminating the need to switch between multiple windows for different tasks. Users can also extract elements from PDFs, such as images and text, for further use.

The tool is particularly useful for designers, architects, consultants, and students who need to organize information for various projects. With Kosmik, users can easily add different types of media to a single canvas, eliminating the need to juggle multiple tabs and documents. Some retail investors have even started using the app to monitor stock prices, and consultants use it to create project boards.

Rony emphasizes that Kosmik’s main selling point is its ability to combine various tools and bring them into one place.

“I believe that the key lies in the fact that we don’t have the best web browsers, text editors, or PDF readers,” Rony explains. “But because we allow them to coexist in the same space and easily transfer between them, our tool becomes incredibly powerful.”

Kosmik is available on the web, as well as for Mac and Windows. The basic version is free, with a 50MB file limit and 5GB storage, along with 500 canvas ‘elements.’ For more storage and unlimited elements, users can subscribe to the $5.99 monthly plan. There are also plans in the works to offer a one-time payment option for those who only need the software on a single device.

In addition to its product, Kosmik has also received a significant boost in funding. The company recently announced a seed round of $3.7 million, led by Creandum with participation from Alven, Kima Ventures, Betaworks, and founders from Replit and Quizlet.

Hanel Baveja, principal at Creandum, notes that Kosmik has the potential to revolutionize the workflows of organizations, much like Notion and Miro. However, Baveja also stresses the importance of providing immediate value to users and creating a user-friendly experience.

“In today’s market, any product needs to offer immediate value to its users. For a daily product like Kosmik, the first impression is vital,” Baveja explains. “Finding a balance between a rich feature set and an easy-to-use interface is a challenge that the Kosmik team continues to tackle head on.”

The recent funding comes at an opportune time, as Kosmik is currently in the process of merging its codebases. The new version, Kosmik 2.0, will offer feature parity and be web-based, with desktop clients functioning as wrapper apps. The new version will also introduce new features such as multiplayer collaboration and AI-powered auto-tagging for images.

Rony shares that with the multiplayer mode, users can collaborate on specific sections of the canvas using a “card” metaphor. This allows for focused collaboration without sharing the entire canvas.

Kosmik launched to the public in March and currently has around 8,000 daily users. However, it is challenging to accurately gauge the exact number of active users as the product can be used entirely offline.

While Kosmik is not the only startup working on a personal whiteboard tool, such as Berlin-based Deta and Sane, it aims to differentiate itself with its unique features and seamless integration of various tools. As the competition in this space heats up, Kosmik will need to continue delivering value to its users and persuading them to adopt this innovative approach to knowledge capturing.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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