In today's interview on DesignRush, we talk with Vanessa Stock, a co-founder at Pitch – a presentation platform founded in 2018 that successfully raised over $135 million to date and reached over a million teams worldwide in just five years.
Interview highlights include:
- What's Pitch's key selling point
- Services that Pitch offers
- Why it's a great choice for remote teams
Vanessa is the Chief People Officer and a co-founder of presentation software Pitch. Before joining Pitch, Vanessa was part of the Wunderlist crew, where she helped hire the core team. Vanessa has gained first-hand experience in the German startup and scale-up market developments in her role at Pitch. As a venture-backed company, Pitch has been immersed in the investment and talent acquisition landscape.
DesignRush: Despite being founded just five years ago, Pitch recently celebrated a big milestone by reaching one million teams. Can you guide us through the origins of Pitch?
Vanessa: Pitch was founded in Berlin in 2018 by eight co-founders (including myself), many of whom previously worked together at Wunderlist, a task management app acquired by Microsoft in 2015. After Wunderlist was sold, the team went their separate ways — until Pitch CEO Christian Reber got in touch two years later.
As product creators, we saw the opportunity to build "beautiful" software with a focus on real-time collaboration and intuitive design features to make the presentation-building process more seamless.
The main push behind building Pitch was the idea of revisiting processes that have been around for a long time, and that are very entrenched as a result, but don’t work that well and could stand to be revisited.
- To date, Pitch has raised $135 million
Pitch investors include long-established industry leaders like Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and Zoom founder Eric Yuan.
What was your strategy when you began looking for investors and what would you say was the hardest part of growing Pitch?
When Pitch started, we were focused on getting partners onboard who were helpful and focused on the product. For example, Zoom's Eric Yuan built a brilliant product, so he’s been an influential partner to have on board. Pitch shares monthly updates for investors and we often ask for feedback on product, hiring, pricing and other strategic topics.
At Pitch, the community is essential. How does becoming a Pitch Pal on Slack speak to the company’s values and brand strategy?
We want to educate our customers and solve their problems thoroughly with empathy while being the voice of our community. The community should help facilitate the types of connections that drive people to use Pitch. It is a general area to talk about design, how to build a presentation and share inspiration. The Pitch community is an incredible source of inspiration for us as we continue to grow and develop our product.
A key selling point of Pitch is how intuitive it is. Can you tell us more about accessibility as part of Pitch’s creative process?
- Pitch is collaborative by design
It’s built for the needs of the modern worker and is making it significantly faster and easier for impactful presentations to be created and shared - both by individuals and teams. Unlike legacy presentation software, Pitch has taken a team-first approach to product development.
We all spend hours in front of our screens. Therefore, why shouldn't some of this time feel more enjoyable and seamless we all know the feeling of fiddling and wasting precious time when we open certain applications.
The main reason for this disconnect is that all too often legacy software restricts what users can do – it is designed to effectively micromanage us through permissions and approvals, slowing down the rate of feedback and smooth collaboration.
One of your standout memberships is Pitch Pro, which allows users to review presentation engagement. How does this improve workflow and business growth?
The Pro plan is perfect for power users and growing teams that rely on presentations as a way to drive business. Pro features include more granular user permissions, shared private folders and video uploads.
Engagement analytics is another feature of Pitch that allows users to track how their presentations are being viewed and engaged with by their audience.
It tracks a variety of metrics, including total views, average time spent, slide views, link clicks, scroll depth, device type, and location. All of these combine to help businesses create presentations that help teams win business.
How does Pitch support working in a remote environment, from both an employer and an employee standpoint?
We've built a remote-first culture from the ground up and have found there are a few foundational principles and processes that have helped us collaborate effectively. The clearer a leadership team is on their stance on remote work, and what success looks like, the better the team can execute on it.
As a leader, it shouldn't be your job to protect traditions, it’s to be the first to notice inefficiencies and set up better alternatives. Start-ups are often better at being nimble, willing to experiment to find what works and are building remote work into their core DNA in really interesting ways.
Our employees are distributed across 30 countries, which means competing time zones and working asynchronously.
We often record ourselves presenting our slides rather than presenting live. This means our colleagues can watch back whenever, and if they didn’t quite get that last part of the presentation, they can drop a comment to clarify. Pitch lets you build these recordings right into your slides.
Pitch is constantly coming up with new features and ways to improve customer experience. What do you have planned next?
- We believe the future of all business will be visual
That's why — more than creating a complete presentation platform — we aim to redefine how the world communicates and connects through compelling and beautiful presentations.
To do that, we will continue to focus on where it matters and deliver a high-quality product, whether with new motion or analytics data so that teams can win more pitches and make more ideas a reality.
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