'It's a Powerpoint killer' - Berlin startup Pitch goes live

BERLIN (Reuters) - Take a Powerpoint slide deck, embed it in an online teamworking tool and add video conferencing and you have Pitch: a collaborative presentation application that launched on Tuesday.

Pitch founder and CEO Christian Reber poses in this handout picture taken in Berlin, Germany April, 2018. Picture taken April, 2018. Franziska Turner/ via REUTERS

Pitch wants to take on Microsoft's veteran presentation software by bringing collaboration on sales and marketing presentations into the era of Slack and Zoom.

The Berlin-based startup has attracted $50 million from backers including Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and Zoom’s Eric Yuan, and is going live after trialling its product with 25,000 teams.

“It’s a Powerpoint killer,” founder and CEO Christian Reber told Reuters in an interview.

Serial entrepreneur Reber built and sold to-do app Wunderlist to Microsoft in 2015 for a price reported to be between $100 million and $200 million.

He went on to work at the U.S. software giant’s Redmond headquarters, but says he failed to settle. He left in 2017 and, with the core Wunderlist team, embarked on his current venture.

Pitch enables decentralised teams to collaborate on a shared workspace, so that they can assign tasks, comment on each other’s input and hold impromptu video calls to debate progress.

Speakers appear in on-screen video bubbles, making it possible for colleagues or an audience to focus on the slideshow without having to deal with the hassle of sharing screens or the risk of buffering disrupting the presentation.

“Pitch combines the best elements of consumer software - slick design, ease of use, and fun - with the power of business software,” Systrom said in a statement.

“It’s absolutely part of the new breed of business software that people will be delighted to use.”

Other backers include Index Ventures, Thrive Capital, BlueYard, and The Slack Fund.

Pitch is free, while a premium product at $10 per ‘seat’ per month includes uploads of video files and analytics to determine which slides in a presentation attract attention.

An enterprise version is in the works, Reber said.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Gareth Jones