Presentations startup Chronicle banks $7.5 million from Accel & Square Peg to take the fight up to Canva and Powerpoint

- February 22, 2023 3 MIN READ
Mayuresh Patole, Tejas Gawande
Chronicle cofounder Mayuresh Patole and Tejas Gawande
  • Chronicle is transforming how presentations are made
  • It replaces slidedecks, saving hours of preparation
  • The startup raised $7.5m led by Accel & Square Peg
  • The plaform is currently in beta mode

Presentation platform Chronicle has raised $7.5 million from angel investors working for some of the biggest names in tech.

The raise was led by Accel and local VC Square Peg, along with a team of angels from Apple, Google, Meta, Slack, Stripe, Superhuman, OnDeck, and Adobe.

The Indian-Australian-US software venture says its doing to presentations what Notion did to docs, taking the fight up to Powerpoint and fellow challenger Canva to make presentations faster to compile, as well as more interactive and engaging.

Sydney-based CEO Mayuresh Patole met his cofounder Tejas Gawande, at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and have known each other for a decade.

Patole was inspired to launch Chronicle after being repeatedly asked about how he made his presentations, then running a workshop on effective presentations that was a surprise success.

The pair spent the last decade helping thousands of people make presentations while working in product, growth, and management consulting roles.

“This started at university where I accidentally ended up teaching lecture halls full of students to build presentations because they thought I’d developed some kind of new interactive format,” Patole said.

“In reality, I was spending hours hacking Powerpoint to deliver a novel, interactive and engaging format. Today, with the explosion of social media, remote work, and a plethora of modern design tools, the world is ready for a new way to tell stories. I’m so excited that I can now bring that power to create visually stunning stories to anyone in seconds or minutes, not hours.”

Chronicle is not a faster tool to make slides, but a rethinking of presentations for users to create with ‘pre-designed blocks’.

These blocks are interactive and designed to reduce the time required to create a story with maximum impact. Layouts are created much like arranging widgets on an iPhone

Here’s a mindblowing stat: employees spend, on average, more than a month every year writing and finessing presentations. That means nearly 10% of their year is spent stuffing around trying to nail their 15 minutes of fame in company meetings.

Social media hijacked attention

Gawande said the problem is not that you can’t create great presentations with existing tools, but rather that it is that the tools do not help in the process.

“Not only do existing tools and formats make it very difficult to deliver great presentations, they make it quite easy to make bad ones,” he said.

Chronicle in beta mode

“Social media has completely hijacked how people consume complex information. Attention spans have reduced by 33% since 2000 and have given rise to shorter formats across almost everything we consume.”

The challenge, Gawande said, is that most audiences stop paying attention to the presentation at the 10-minute mark.

“As younger generations have entered the workplace this feeling of ‘death by Powerpoint’ has only grown more acute,” he said

“Simply making tools that lead to faster creation of poorly designed slides with chartjunk and bad information design only further aggravates this issue.”

Patole said Chronicle’s early adopters have been able to create some of the best decks in just 8 minutes instead of 8 hours.

“Eventually, we see Chronicle being the best way to anchor any meeting or discussion, in-person, remote, or asynchronous,” he said.

“It is a huge opportunity to impact millions of people who aren’t happy with how stories are told today and we are incredibly excited about it.”

‘Obsessed’ founder

How the duo used Chronicle to build their pitch deck was enough to impress Accel’s Shekhar Kirani to invest.

“Chronicle is reimagining storytelling. The team is obsessed with fixing the problem and making the experience of crafting impactful stories not just bearable but joyful,” he said.

“With its opinionated design and delightful experience, Chronicle has already started emerging as the choice of storytelling tool with modern ventures.”

Square Peg’s Paul Bassat said it’s rare to find a founder with a special connection to the problem they’re solving.

“Mayuresh is absolutely obsessed and uniquely skilled to craft a new storytelling medium,” he said.

“When he showed us what he means by ‘a new format’ it was immediately clear that the opportunity is huge and they are thinking about this very differently.”

Chronicle has a fully remote team of 15, operating across the US, India, and Australia.

They are currently in closed beta, rapidly iterating with their early adopters on the first version of their product that focuses on helping founders make pitch decks – a use case that is very close to the founders.

They will soon be expanding to other internal and external storytelling use cases.