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Bret Taylor's Quip Lands $30 Million to Take On Office, Google Docs

Wary from past downturns, Taylor said he remains tight-fisted with the company's cash.

David Paul Morris/Quip

Bret Taylor now has another $30 million in the bank as he aims his startup, Quip, to take on Microsoft and Google in a battle for the hearts and desktops of corporate America.

Quip — which makes a hybrid communications, collaboration and productivity service — is announcing on Thursday it has raised a new round of funding led by Greylock Partners, with Greylock’s John Lilly joining the board and Benchmark also investing. Quip isn’t saying how much the new round values the company at, but says it is higher than when the company did its $15 million Series A. And no, Taylor said, Quip is not moving into unicorn territory.

The company is also announcing it has hired former New Relic marketing boss Patrick Moran, a self-described “data nerd,” to be the company’s chief customer officer in charge of sales, marketing and customer service.

“It definitely fills a gap in our executive team’s expertise,” Taylor told Re/code, noting that the company has been very product-focused, with little energy devoted to marketing.

For his part, Moran says he became sold on Quip while working to prepare New Relic’s stock offering. Internally, he and New Relic’s top executives were using Quip, while the lawyers sent documents back and forth via email, Box and Dropbox.

“It was pathetic — ‘Use this file, not that one … version 3.a.3423 attached!’ etc.,” Moran said. “Once people start working in Quip, they won’t go back to the old stuff. My job is to get millions of people hooked up on Quip.”

Brett Taylor (glasses by Nerd Nation app)

Although Quip is raising more money, Taylor said he has been burned in the past by downturns and still has most of the Series A money in the bank.

“That definitely left an imprint on me,” said Taylor, who ran FriendFeed before selling to Facebook in 2009 and was also a key force behind the launch of Google Maps. “We are a little conservative.”

That said, the company is up against two well-heeled competitors — Microsoft and Google — especially as Quip looks to woo ever-larger companies onto its product.

The company plans to continue its current business model of making Quip free for individuals but a paid product for businesses that go over certain limits. Taylor said Quip has millions of individual users and 30,000 business customers, though not all of those are paying.

While Quip occupies most of Taylor’s time, he has also been working on a little side project — a fun iPhone app that adds the nerd glasses that many of Stanford’s athletes have worn for photos and videos. The app lets you apply virtual nerd glasses to any photo in your library or a newly taken picture.

“I think i wrote it in two hours, and it took Apple two weeks to approve,” Taylor said of the Nerd Nation app.

Taylor, who got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Stanford, assures people that he won’t be trying to tackle two jobs at once. “I hope to maintain most of my focus on Quip,” Taylor said with a laugh.

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