We’re so over PowerPoint presentations, right? Well, that’s the common refrain, at least. And we haven’t even been super-enthused about the new-fangled PowerPoint alternatives in a while – not since companies like Prezi, Animoto, and (VMWare-acquired) SlideRocket were making the rounds in the startup scene, that is. Even SlideShare, the service that made presentations social, launched a web meetings service Zipcast last year in order to bring a little video-enabled pizazz into things. Long story, short. We like videos now. Please, more videos.
So that’s exactly what newly launched (still private beta) startup PowToon is offering: more videos, which are more easily made.
If web 2.0 startups were trying to simplify and jazz up the slideshow creation processes in hopes of becoming “PowerPoint killers,” PowToon wants to ride on the next bandwagon – our growing love for everything video. These days we’re all about finding the Instagram for video, or thinking about how we can insert video ads in mobile apps, for example. We’re launching real-time social networks based on video. Etc., etc. In other words, it’s video’s turn now.
Capitalizing on this trend, PowToon delivers a DIY solution for making those near-ubiquitous marketing videos, company demos and explainers. And, as the name implies, there’s quite a collection of those cartoon guys (‘toons), found within its content collection. Its content is sourced from designers, animators, voice actors, and sound artists who sell through the PowToon Marketplace – the idea being that buying the individual pieces that make up a video and then building the video yourself is cheaper than outsourcing its creation to a professional design studio. That’s probably true, but you should be sure to have a good script and vision – not everyone is meant to be a creative.
The freemium service is aimed at non-professional designers and video editors, and it offers drag-and-drop objects which you add to slides. You then choose their animation, duration, add text, and add a soundtrack. Then, boom, you have a professional-looking demo presentation. The service also includes templates to get you started (e.g a product demo teaser, event invitation, etc.), if need be. The resulting presentations can be uploaded to YouTube or shared on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, of course. (An example video – PowToon’s own – is at the bottom of the post).
The U.K./Israel-based company was founded in October 2011 by serial entrepreneur Ilya Spitalnik (CEO) who now runs the Greenwave Incubator and COO Daniel Zaturansky. It has some funding from Spitalnik through Greenwave as well as a small round from Kima Ventures, but is mostly bootstrapping.
One caveat for startup founders: while we enjoy explainers as much as the next guy for being quickly taught complex concepts, when it comes to introducing your creation to the world via video, remember that videos of the app/site/service itself are needed, too – not just some cartoon guy hopping around talking about the market and opportunity, OK?
The service opens to the public in August, but TechCrunch readers can click here for early invites now.