Haiku Deck is one of Seattle’s hottest startup companies. But up until today, I (and millions of other consumers) couldn’t use it. That’s because Haiku Deck — a PowerPoint rival — was only available as an iPad app.
Today, the team behind Haiku Deck is releasing a new Web-based version, one that will allow consumers to create compelling presentations in minutes from desktop computers and laptops.
“It is exciting for us because a big part of our model is getting the people who view decks to download, and up until now that cycle has been broken,” said Tratt.
Broken to some degree.
Even with the iPad only version, Haiku Deck has attracted more than 800,000 downloads of its free app, with expectations that it will top one million this year. “It’s happening,” said Tratt, adding that they are focusing on getting influencers downloading the service. That’s not too shabby for a company that has used grass-roots marketing to build its brand. To date, it has compiled a wait-list of 10,000 folks who are interested in the new Web-based app.
In some ways, with the new release, Haiku Deck is entering the lion’s den that is known as PowerPoint.
“This is a much bigger market,” said Tratt, a former Microsoft and Cranium marketing manager in explaining the importance of the new desktop release. “Microsoft kind of owns the market, and they have all of the data. But, our belief is, aside from email, presentations are probably the number one communication tool.”
Tratt described the new desktop version as a “V1″ product, but he’s hopeful that they will continue to grow in the market.
“Right now, we just want to get people using it,” he said. “We are trying to grow, so we don’t want to put any friction on that.” And while he said mobile is in the company’s DNA, he said building a Web-based version was important given the number of requests received from users. That said, Tratt notes that Haiku Decks render well on mobile devices, compared to some of the competition.
“Old-school presentations don’t present well on mobile,” he said. “And that is increasingly important to people.” Having a compelling experience on mobile devices, matters to folks, he said.
At a recent meeting in a Fremont coffee shop, Tratt showed the power of the new tool, designing a Haiku Deck presentation in less than two minutes based on my love of The Ohio State Buckeyes. (See below).
Originally started at TechStars under the name Giant Thinkwell, Haiku Deck raised $3 million in funding earlier this year from Trilogy Partnership, Founder’s Co-op, Madrona and others.