Grant Lee has been living in slide decks for most of his career, but it wasn’t until he was doing some advisory work last year that relied heavily on slides that he aimed to reimagine the format.
“Slides were built for a different era of work,” he told TechCrunch. “They were more of a visual aid. You had to have a presenter because they have little standalone power without the person.”
Previously, people would print off slides or watch the presentation together on one screen, but the overall problem of people sharing and communicating their work has existed for a long time, Lee said. Slides have been around for over 30 years, and now everyone has their own screen.
So Lee and his co-founders, James Fox and Jon Noronha, all former Optimizely employees (Optimizely was acquired by Episerver in 2020), started Gamma, a software that enables users to build stacks of cards that fit a brand’s aesthetic and prioritize design by linking different bits of content, like videos and embeddable forms that can be filled out in real time.
The idea for Gamma was to create something that still feels familiar to the traditional slide, but that also “unlocks a whole new set of super powers,” Lee said. He refers to building content in Gamma like “choosing your own adventure,” and the content can be dragged, dropped uploaded and fit into the cards. And though the presenter is guiding the conversation, watchers can explore the content themselves and then go back to following the presentation.
The company was founded last November, launched in private beta in August and is now announcing $7 million in seed funding led by Accel. Other participants in the round include Zoom CEO Eric Yuan; former LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner; founders at Airtable, Patreon, Segment, Honey and Optimizely; and early-stage funds including Script Capital, South Park Commons, LocalGlobe, Afore and Hustle Fund.
“When we came out of stealth in August, we were talking to Accel and thought they were the right partner,” Lee said. “Investing in a new medium can be difficult, but we were excited about crafting the right building blocks. The new funding will allow us to build out the team and the product, and it will help having the right partner.”
Gamma is now out of private beta and Lee said there are thousands of people on the waitlist to be onboarded. It is too early to discuss growth metrics, due to the company not yet having paying customers, but there will be some paid plans down the road, he said.