Scribd uses iPaper which is a rich document format similar to PDF built for the web, which allows users to embed documents into a web page. iPaper was built with Adobe Flash, allowing it to be viewed the same across different operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) without conversion, as long as the reader has Flash installed (although Scribd has announced non-Flash support for the iPhone). All major document types can be formatted into iPaper including Word docs, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, OpenDocumentdocuments, OpenOffice.org XML documents, and PostScript files.
The idea for Scribd was originally inspired when Trip Adler was at Harvard and had a conversation with his father, John R. Adler about the difficulties of publishing academic papers. He teamed up with cofounders Jared Friedman and Tikhon Bernstam and they attended Y Combinator in Cambridge in the summer of 2006. Scribd was launched from a San Francisco apartment in March 2007 and quickly grew in traffic.
In September 2009, BusinessWeek named Scribd one the “World’s Most Intriguing Startups”. In December 2009, Forbes named Scribd one of its “10 Hot Startups”. Fast CompanyNamed Scribd “One of its Top 10 Most Innovative Media Companies” in February 2010. In May 2010, Scribd was recognized as one of the “2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies” by Lead411. On September 1, 2010, the World Economic Forum announced the company as a Technology Pioneer for 2011. After the World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award, Time Magazine named Scribd one of the “10 Start-Ups that Will Change Your Life”.