Georg Petschnigg – CEO and Co-Founder of FiftyThree.

Georg Petschnigg is one of the Co-Founders of FiftyThree who created the iPad application Paper.

(source gather)

FiftyThree’s Paper

Paper was designed to replace a pen and a piece of paper, it is a drawing application designed to capture your ideas as sketches, diagrams, illustrations, notes or drawings which can all be easily shared across the web. In an interview with CoDesign CoDesign Petschnigg explained

“We realized that we use pen and paper like everyone else, because it is simple, beautiful, and lets you express your ideas freely. So we set out to bring some of that simplicity and beauty to software. We wanted a tool that works more like we think.”

Georg Petschnigg’s Bio

Petschnigg according to his personal website’s biography 

“combines over 10 years of entrepreneurial experience with an in-depth background in design and technology. Prior to FiftyThree, he started a consumer electronic business at Microsoft in partnership with Samsung, started the Pioneer Studios a design venture fund, worked on historical sites in Germany (Burg Pyrmont), and was part of the launch of HDTV at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

His design background includes interaction and product design which he has taught at Stanford, University of Washington, and New York University. He has invented in the area of image processing, user interfaces, visualization, and has been awarded numerous international patents.

Georg graduated with distinctions from Columbia University with degrees in Computer Engineering and Economics and holds an M.S in Electrical Engineering and a concentration in Product Design from Stanford University.”

FiftyThree’s Co-Founding Team

In his article “Six months of Paper: sketching the future of app startups” Ellis Hamburger describes the FiftyThree founding team “a rare artist co-op that can actually pay the bills.”  FiftyThree was co-founded by Petschnigg along with John Ikeda, the man behind the Xbox 360 controller, Julian Walker, who engineered Seadragon at Microsoft, Andrew Allen, an award-winning filmmaker, and Jon Harris, who helped design the experience behind Zune and Xbox. Some of these guys along with Petschnigg were ex-Miscrosoft employees and spent time working on Courier – an innovative dual-screen digital notebook that Microsoft killed off before it was released.

FiftyThree team photo (source

My Thoughts

Paper seems to be one of the “hottest” apps around at the moment, it seems FiftyThree are managing to receive great reviews and have people starting to talk about them everywhere. Will this momentum last? The outlook seems positive. Petschnigg has a great team of engineers and developers at the moment. Apple also awarded them their “Design Award”  for Paper’s in-app purchase implementation. Furthermore, Paper is reported to be currently outselling more mature apps such as Sketchbook Pro and Adobe’s Photoshop Touch.

So far FiftyThree have only released one product for one platform, the iPad. In one interview Petschnigg’s mentions that they are really interested to release Paper for other platforms if they receive the funding. What do you think? Is this CEO and his team onto something great? Can Petschnigg continue to keep up the momentum and popularity they are currently experiencing? For now I personally believe so, they have created a product that is simple, elegant and does just one thing well. They have a pretty all-star engineering and design team and seemed to have managed to market their product successfully to date.



Paper: the next great iPad app, from the brains behind Courier

Six months of Paper: sketching the future of app startups

The inside story of how Microsoft killed its Courier tablet

Ex-Microsofties Unveil Paper, An iPad App For Ideating And Sharing

Paper: The hot new app for the iPad

Georg Petschnigg’s twitter feed

Interview: Georg Petschnigg of FiftyThree, makers of Paper for the iPad
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Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp