New Investment: Proofcheck, the Atomic Proofreading Assistant for Content Creators

By Antonio Rojas and Theodora Alexe Published on September 30, 2022

We're happy to announce our first Plug and Play Startup Camp EMEA investment: Proofcheck, a Vienna-based AI proofreading platform that aims to help content creators efficiently surface textual and stylistic mistakes that could ruin their final copy.

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Proofcheck is the first addition to the Plug and Play Startup Camp EMEA program. Through Startup Camp EMEA, Plug and Play supports outstanding entrepreneurs and invests in ambitious teams across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa from Day 0. Young tech companies operating in all major sectors can apply to receive support from our dedicated Plug and Play vertical and accelerator programs.

Redefining a fully manual process with cutting-edge technology

Today, proofreading workflows are extremely decentralized and involve a great amount of back-and-forth between proofreaders, coordinators, authors, and designers. Checking for typos and design inconsistencies in books and publications is traditionally done manually by staff or freelancers. In the publishing industry, Proofcheck’s initial market, complex proofreading processes are extremely expensive and inefficient given the large number of titles published each year (about 4.6m in the US and EEA) and the substantial time and delays required for those checks.

While there are other proofreading software providers in the market, those solutions only conduct checks in working file formats like Word document manuscripts. Therefore, content creators rely predominantly on human proofreaders to find mistakes in publication-ready books and other high-design content. Proofcheck is the first intelligent error-detection tool that can automatically surface mistakes in previously unsupported file formats such as PDFs and ePubs. Underneath the hood of this multilingual web app, Proofcheck’s atomic proofreading technology harnesses Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to intelligently scan, map and dissect a document, streamlining document Quality Assurance, or QA, processes. The software automates the most common manual QA checks such as typo detection, widow and orphan lines, stacks and ladders, version comparison (PDF-PDF and DOCX-PDF differences), stylesheet generation, footer irregularity detection, hyperlink validation, and more.

The global publishing market which Proofcheck will tap into was recently valued at more than $112.5bn. While Proofcheck will initially target traditional publishers for its B2B go-to-market strategy, the adjacent global markets of white papers, professional research papers, legal services and educational services will provide additional sources of growth in the years to come. In addition to servicing enterprise clients, Proofcheck’s technology will be available to individual authors, academics, and content creators via an annual subscription or single-use license. With the rise of platforms like Kindle and Lulu, the self-publishing market has exploded in recent years with as many as 2.2m books published annually. To meet demand, Proofcheck recently opened a waitlist for B2C users who want early access to the platform.

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The team behind Proofcheck

CEO Tara Wanda Merrigan brings nearly a decade of experience in publishing and leads product design and customer acquisition at Proofcheck. She graduated from Harvard with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Literature and has built a solid network in the industry over the years. She's currently a board member of the National Book Critics Circle, a major US literary institution. There she serves as Vice President leading the organization’s new Barrios Book in Translation Prize.

With a breadth of experience in corporate data science and full-stack software development as well as neural networks and deep learning techniques, CTO Alexandre Paris leads the technical and operational activities at Proofcheck. He graduated from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and has previously worked in risk management at Goldman Sachs.

Together, they're committed to making Proofcheck the best automated solution for content quality assurance.

The investment

The co-founders have successfully bootstrapped their startup, built the MVP, and received recognition and validation from industry players. Proofcheck was a Startup of the Year finalist at The Bookseller’s technology conference. Plug and Play is excited about this investment opportunity, as expressed by our investors.

“Millions of books, white papers and reports are published every year. And yet, proofreading is still a costly manual process based on the same tools that were used in the 90s. Proofcheck will radically simplify this whole workflow. Publishers and our industry partners will cut the time spent on proofreading and the associated costs by 50-90%, said Daniel Dilger, Ventures Director at STARTUP AUTOBAHN powered by Plug and Play.

"We are excited about the additional opportunities for Proofcheck’s technology - we will work together with the team to help them launch a suite of APIs for common problems developers face with PDFs, such as accurate word extraction and document mapping."