Flex-based presentation creation web application SlideRocket is coming out of beta today and announcing pricing plans for its premium service. The company is also announcing partnerships with a handful of vendors as part of a newly launched marketplace that will allow users to purchase products and services for use with their presentations directly within SlideRocket.
SlideRocket is easily the most complete presentation application on the web, and the most likely to really compete with Microsoft’s PowerPoint juggernaut. SlideRocket does basically everything that you’d expect a presentation app to do, but really sets itself apart where many web apps do: collaboration. Every presentation on SlideRocket can be shared down to the slide level, and changes can be dynamically updated across slides. For example, say your sales department creates a sales pitch deck and uses some slides that the marketing department created and shared with them. Then something changes and the marketing guys need to update the slide, when they do those updates are pushed automatically to the slides being used in the sales presentation.
Founder Mitch Grasso told me that there are about 30,000 people using SlideRocket today. I asked Grasso if he anticipated any push back from users by adding a pricing plan after the fact to a service that has been free for about 8 months. Surprisingly, many of the have been asking for a pricing plan that will allow them to pay for the service, he told me. Many enterprise customers feel more comfortable using web applications if they’re paying for them.
SlideRocket will launch to the public today with a three-tiered price plan: free, $15/month, and $30/month (though the two paid plans are discounted for launch). The biggest difference between free and paid is the amount of storage allowed per account — 250mb for free users, and 1GB for paid users. The highest priced paid account also allows multiple users and opens up SlideRocket’s impressive collaboration features, versioning, and web conference app that allows slides to be shared with remote viewers.
Paid plans include email support, while phone support is available to all users for $49 per incident. Premium support with unlimited phone calls will be offered to enterprise customers for 20% of subscription fees (at a $1,500 minimum).
The most impressive part of what SlideRocket is announcing today is the marketplace. Current SlideRocket users will already be familiar with the marketplace concept, because the application already has built in search features for free content around the web — such as CC-licensed photos on Flickr.
SlideRocket is launching with two partners, stock photo site Fotolia, and printer Mimeo. Presentation template provider PresentationPro will launch soon. Content from each of the marketplace providers is available for purchase within SlideRocket using a unified, built-in credit system.
Adding the marketplace is a brilliant move for SlideRocket because it allows them to monetize the free plan. Grasso tells me that he has contracts in place with four of five other companies as well, and ultimately, SlideRocket plans to expand the marketplace into a full service portal for vendors of all sizes.
The hope is that the Marketplace will eventually become the “iPhone apps store of presentations,” with all manner of content and services for sale such as video, stock photography, graphics / clip art, fonts, data feeds (for dynamically updated graphs, etc.), graphic design services, copy writing, or public speaking lessons.
SlideRocket customers will be able to search for and purchase stock photos from Fotolia the same way they can currently search for Flickr images. Purchased images will be added directly to their account’s assets area.
The above image is a mockup SlideRocket provided of what the eventual services marketplace might look like. Clearly inspiration was drawn from iTunes.
SlideRocket, which launched in beta last March, is based in San Francisco, CA and is backed by a $2 million Series A investment from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.