Pitch, from the founders of Wunderlist, raises $19M to tackle Powerpoint in shows


Microsoft’s Powerpoint as we speak has over 1 billion installs, 500 million customers, and a few 95 % market share, making it essentially the most ubiquitous presentation software program in the world. However that doesn’t make it essentially the most cherished. Now, a brand new startup out of Berlin known as Pitch is rising from stealth with plans to problem it, by making what CEO and co-founder Christian Reber describes as “a presentation device for the Slack era.” And to take action, the corporate is asserting $19 million in Sequence A funding, forward of a projected launch date by Summer season 2019 (Reber is speaking, however with none previews of the particular product).

The Slack reference is intentional, not simply due to how the product can be constructed (extra on that beneath). A part of the funding is coming from the Slack Fund, the arm of the work-chat unicorn that makes strategic investments into like-minded startups. Others within the spherical embody Index Ventures and BlueYard as leads, together with Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, Framer CEO Koen Bok, Elastic Co-Founder Simon Willnauer, Datadog CEO Olivier Pomel, Wunderlist-backer Frank Thelen, and Metalab Founder Andrew Wilkinson. Blue Yard led Pitch’s seed funding as nicely: the corporate has raised $22 million up to now.

“Pitch is one among Europe’s few true product-centric corporations breaking new floor in software program for companies,” mentioned Neil Rimer, accomplice at Index Ventures, in a press release. “From messaging to file sharing, software program corporations like Slack and Dropbox have reworked how groups work collectively and unlocked larger productiveness in consequence. We consider Pitch has the potential to redefine the presentation area and develop into a central hub for content material collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and in the end a platform for higher decision-making.” Rimer’s additionally becoming a member of the board.

If $22 million feels like some huge cash for a product that hasn’t launched, in a area that already has a really dominant participant, Pitch will not be your common contender. it’s being constructed by the identical founders who created Wunderlist, a well-liked to-do app that — coincidentally — Microsoft acquired to supercharge its present list-making and to-do software program. You can say that Pitch is aware of simply what it’s pitching, when it goes after an issue that already seems to be “solved.”

In an interview, Reber mentioned that he and the group — which incorporates founders Vanessa Inventory; Marvin Labod; Adam Renklint; Charlette Prevot; Jan Martin; Eric Labod; and Misha Karpenko and 12 others — have been at work on the app for about 9 months already and that it’s in some personal betas with just a few companies.

As for the app itself, Reber wouldn’t present it off to me, however he did present some element about what it’s getting down to do.

The premise behind Pitch is to make “a presentation device for the Slack era,” he mentioned, in reference to the office communications device that grew to become a runaway hit with organizations due to its ease of use, its pace, and the truth that it positions itself as a platform, integrating with nearly any app that an individual would possibly use within the regular course of a working day, turning itself right into a communication layer underpinning all these apps, too.

The identical will go for Pitch. “Pitch integrates with all the pieces you already use,” Reber mentioned, describing Pitch shows as “residing paperwork” that may primarily replace with data as knowledge in different paperwork will get modified.

There can even be a social aspect, a la SlideShare (a cloud-based presentation app that was acquired by LinkedIn a few years in the past however has seen few updates since, and naturally now could be a part of Microsoft too, like PowerPoint). Within the case of Pitch, customers will have the ability to create paperwork for their very own ends, however they will additionally use Pitch as a distribution platform, both to a particular group of customers (for instance, in case you are pitching your startup to buyers), or to a wider viewers who’re additionally Pitch customers.

It’s ironic that Reber, who joined Microsoft together with the remainder of the Wunderlist group when the startup was acquired, left the mothership somewhat than doubtlessly making an attempt to both construct one other presentation device inside Microsoft, or transferring to PowerPoint to work on updating that product. The explanations, I believe, are the identical ones that hold giant tech giants from having the ability to transfer shortly on concepts, and to usually dwell with unhealthy ones for too lengthy: they’re too massive and too entrenched, and the halls are rife with politics.

Reber — who jokes that he appears to have a knack at making an attempt to construct issues “that others have already constructed” — mentioned that one more reason is that he additionally has somewhat remorse for promoting Wunderlist after they did. “I didn’t really feel like I’d achieved my purpose,” he mentioned reflecting on the sale. (For the the reason why he offered anyway, you would possibly converse to lots of different founders who’ve exited, and I’d guess that the a number of causes are sometimes the identical.) “So, a 12 months after the exit I assumed I would really like an opportunity to begin from scratch and be extra strategic in how I constructed my startup.”

The selection to deal with shows got here, as many startup concepts usually do, out of his personal frustrations — and probably yours, too, if in case you have been PowerPointed at some second in your life.

The preferred presentation instruments that exist as we speak are simply outdated, he mentioned, with completely different variations out within the wild, throughout completely different platforms, making for a problem in sharing shows with others. Reber describes the Pitch-nee-Wunderlist group as “design pushed,” you may think about how that sort of lack of aesthetic consistency would possibly grate.

He famous that Pitch is constructed on Electron — the applying framework that’s used for WhatsApp, WordPress and lots of different apps — to easy out a few of these bumps throughout platforms.

Pitch is most definitely going into enterprise with its eyes open, realizing that even when you put Microsoft’s PowerPoint and SlideShare to the facet, there are but others, similar to Keynote from Apple, the web-based Prezi, and Slides from Google. However there are many precedents that nonetheless point out alternative.

“It’s actually fascinating for me why new merchandise win,” Reber mentioned. “Simply have a look at the enterprise communications area. The market was saturated, and Hipchat dominated the startup world, however then all the sudden Slack got here and all the pieces change. It simply took over. There can be the same shift, I believe.”

Apart from, he added, having a number of rivals is an effective factor. “It simply signifies that the very best product will come out the winner.” Let’s hope so.


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