A Trinity Of Presentation Software: Video, Music, And HTML (Amen To That!) - InformationWeek

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1/16/2008
09:13 AM
John Foley
John Foley
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A Trinity Of Presentation Software: Video, Music, And HTML (Amen To That!)

Freepath, spun off last year from a company that specializes in software for houses of worship, has secured $1.5 million in Series A funding. Its software can be used to create multimedia business presentations in conjunction with--or as a potential alternative to--Microsoft's PowerPoint.

Freepath, spun off last year from a company that specializes in software for houses of worship, has secured $1.5 million in Series A funding. Its software can be used to create multimedia business presentations in conjunction with--or as a potential alternative to--Microsoft's PowerPoint.Freepath's software lets users drag and drop multimedia content--video, music and audio, animation, PDFs, Web pages, and more--into slideshow-like presentations. Notably, it works with digital content in any format, including Excel, PowerPoint, and Word files.

The company is aiming its software at businesses, schools, and consumers. Freepath envisions people creating "fun" content mashups for parties, reunions, and weddings. I've sat through dozens of PowerPoint presentations and can't remember any that I would describe as fun, but there's no reason they shouldn't be.

Freepath is an example of the blurring line between consumer and business technologies, with the promise that business presentations can become more creative and entertaining. Another startup with a similar name, FreshBrew, is about to release its own presentation software that's also intended to bring new life to business get-togethers. FreshBrew's software creates business presentations that have the interactive qualities of rich Internet applications.

Freepath (not FreshBrew) was spun off last year from Grass Roots Software, which demonstrated the Freepath application at the Demo conference two years ago. Grass Roots, founded in 2003, makes presentation software called SundayPlus for churches and other houses of worship.

Freepath's CEO is John Stone, who worked as a VP for Apple after it acquired PowerSchool, developer of a Web-based student information system that was co-founded by Stone in 1997. (Apple subsequently sold its PowerSchool division to Pearson Education in 2006.)

Freepath's co-founders are John Schultheiss and Lou Douros. Schultheiss is CEO of Grass Roots. The $1.5 investment is led by Velocity Venture Capital and includes participation of several individuals with Strategic Early Ventures, Sacramento Angels, and Sierra Angels.

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