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Why Goodnotes chose Paddle to help scale across borders and platforms

With Paddle, Goodnotes has opened up new revenue streams without having to set up and manage its own payment gateway.

24 Million

monthly users globally


countries supported


new revenue streams

The company

Since its launch in 2011, Goodnotes has helped millions of users – particularly students, journalers, artists, educators, and visionaries – to take visually-rich, digital notes on their device of choice. 

In 2022, it was named iPad App of the Year and, since then has just gotten better and better. The latest version, Goodnotes 6, was launched in August 2023 and features AI-powered handwriting recognition, intelligent correction, a marketplace for digital stationery, and is also available on Android, Windows, and Web for the first time.

And this is just the start. Founder Steven Chan’s vision is to enable digital paper for everyone. To this end, the team at Goodnotes wanted to expand in several new areas. 

“Many of our users are students who may want to access our apps via different devices at school, at the library, or at home. With that in mind, it has been a priority for our users to be able to access our app wherever they go.” 

Patrick Yip, Product Lead, Marketplace, Goodnotes

On top of this, Patrick and his team were also looking to launch an enterprise offering in response to growing demand. 

“We have a lot of business users,” he says. “Firms that are still heavily paper-based desperately need digital note-taking solutions so that they can operate in a greener way. We've been listening to these requests.” 

The challenge

“We wanted to enable anyone using any device to collaborate, just like using paper. So that was the vision but we still needed to keep the business running. The next question was, ‘how would we support payments across different devices and platforms?’” 

Expanding to multiple stores across different operating systems was relatively straightforward. 

But launching as an web app for both B2C and B2B purchases would require Goodnotes to  set up and manage its own payments stack, including collecting and remitting sales tax for every country it sold into - a massive task for a lean team. 

“We have over 24 million monthly active users spread across 144 countries. We simply couldn’t manage the complexity of these payments ourselves. That’s without the further complications that come with a B2B offering. Corporate payments have different protocols around billing and invoicing.”

Goodnotes also wanted to be able to offer more flexible payment options. 

“Historically, we have only offered annual subscriptions,” Patrick says. “But our online marketplace has a transaction-based model where each item is purchased individually. We also wanted to be able to offer different subscription choices such as multi-year discounts or shorter renewal periods.”

The solution

Goodnotes concluded that it needed support from a payment provider. This was when Patrick and his team discovered Paddle. 

“Paddle was the only provider that met our needs. We chose it for one very critical reason: its Merchant of Record (MoR) model.” 

As a MoR, Paddle handles all of Goodnotes’ tax and compliance needs on every payment – whether B2B or B2C – in over 144 countries. This frees up the engineering and finance teams from having to manage this and ensures full regulatory compliance.  

Paddle also gives Goodnotes the ability to move upmarket and serve businesses with direct purchases through a web store and invoicing capability. 

Building out a solution for the B2B market was particularly important for Goodnotes as a new revenue stream. With a tailored solution like Paddle, they can create and send invoices to business customers and leverage easy payment options to speed up the entire accounts receivable flow.

With such a global user base, the ability to support payments in local currencies, and set different prices for different regions based on different willingness-to-pay factors were crucial for the team. 

Ultimately, Paddle takes away Goodnotes’ payment liability and thereby reduces risk. It removes the payment burden so that Patrick and his team can focus on what they do best: evolving their product.

“Paddle was the only provider that met our needs. We chose it for one very critical reason: its Merchant of Record (MoR) model.”

The results

Implementing the solution was quick and easy. “It was a smooth process,” Patrick says. “Paddle is incredibly reliable. We needed a platform we could trust, and that’s what we have got.”

Reduced risk 

With Paddle, Goodnotes is now able to support B2C and B2B purchases outside app stores from 144 countries and regions without taking on liabilities, such as collecting sales tax, ensuring Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, and honoring refunds and chargebacks.

Increased revenue 

Goodnotes is now widely available across platforms and devices, creating greater accessibility for users and expanding its revenue streams significantly. 

The move upmarket with a B2B offering facilitated by Paddle means Goodnotes can support larger purchases without adding any extra work to the team’s plate.

“We are already talking to a lot of Fortune 500 companies across the world,” Patrick says. “Because we have Paddle, our small team can handle the whole end-to-end payments process for these companies, without needing any other system – not even a CRM. We can just use Paddle to kick off and that is a good thing for us.”

Another benefit to users is localized pricing based on willingness to pay and purchasing power in different countries and regions. This was an important piece for Goodnotes, once again with their student users top of mind. 

“With 24 million users across the world, different markets have different levels of affordability. We looked into the living costs and standards and matched this to price points in different markets to make sure students can afford it at a reasonable price.”

Reduced cost 

Goodnotes now has its own payment gateway that supports its web store where it can drive transactions outside of the usual app stores. With fewer fees to pay on these transactions, Goodnotes can reinvest those savings into enhancing the product. 

“We now have greater control over unit economics and that allows us to unlock more strategic partnerships.”

This ultimately helps Goodnotes achieve its vision of democratizing digital notes for everyone. 

“Having this possibility to diversify our revenue streams and reduce costs has made us even stronger as a business,” Patrick says. “With Paddle, we can better support price-sensitive students as well as other users, right around the world. That’s pretty amazing.” 

Going forward, Goodnotes plans to continue delivering even more innovative features to enhance the note-taking experience on any device, anywhere in the world.   

“Having this possibility to diversify our revenue streams and reduce costs has made us even stronger as a business. With Paddle, we can better support price-sensitive students as well as other users, right around the world. That’s pretty amazing.” 

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