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Cyril started PDFShift in 2018. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on PDFShift?
I remember waking up in the middle of the night when I was younger and had school the next day, just because I had this project idea that was running through my mind and keeping me awake. I would spend one to two hours on the computer starting to write the idea, validating it online, seeing what was possible… and spend the following days implementing it with a passion and motivation that gives this incredible feeling.
I’ve played with many programming languages, started with PHP then moved to Java, Python. Nowadays, I’m very efficient with Python and can set up an API in a few hours with the main elements already present. For those wondering, I use a modified version of Flask that is available publicly at Github.
For PDFShift, I wanted to start a simple service that was right in my area of expertise. I have a simplicity to work with APIs and I always love to play with Stripe’s API, Mailgun’s API and all the other. I’ve implemented personal wrappers around the main mail sending service available (Postmark, Sparkpost, Mailgun, Sendgrid, …). The one tricky point for me was the communication with Chrome and how to provide the service with great performance results.
I knew from the start that it would be viable financially because I was not the first on the market, and a few others had a good position with a set of interesting customers (listed on their websites). My assertion was correct.
At the time, it was quite easy for me to work on PDFShift: I was working “full-time” on my other company, Reflectiv.net, but it was quite slow so I had the time to focus on other things. This is a great opportunity I have and I’m aware of this; having the possibility to work on your passion without worrying about finance is a blessing.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater