Cradle Fund

Telling Stories With Piktochart

For centuries, mankind has told stories through pictures. We even have the idiom “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Now, a new Internet startup is giving others the opportunity to get back to basics by offering an intuitive, easy to use infographic creator. Founded by CEO Goh Ai Ching and her colleague, CTO Andrea Zaggia, Piktochart began its life in July 2011 with funding from Chinaccelerator, a program that provides funding and mentorship for startup companies.

The brains over at Piktochart want to allow users to tell a story with their data and create an emotional connection with their viewers. The initial prototype of Piktochart was built on Ruby on Rails, an open source web application framework and managed to get 1500 pre-launch signups. This gave Goh and Zaggia (also from Chinaccelerator) the confidence to go forward with developing and launching their service.

Piktochart is, at its essence, an infographic creator. Designed for near-luddites, the interface is simple and intuitive; evoking the image that one is using a sort of Photoshop for toddlers. Users fill the the appropriate text areas and the software handles the rest. For now, Piktochart only offers infographics as static images. However, development is being done to allow users to create interactive charts and include animations in their presentations.

It’s not all just fitting pegs into the right holes though. The service comes with a cloud computing service, allowing users access to their creations at any time. This is useful for getting new sales material to everyone quickly and efficiently.

Piktochart launched a free open beta in November 2011, with plans to properly launch the service in February 2012. For USD10 a month, users will be able to choose from an ever growing library of themes for their infographics. There are plans to incorporate a user-based marketplace for themes. Allowing designers to upload their own themes for use or sale.

The target audience for this service are research, marketing, media and government agencies, particularly those who deal with large amounts of data and need to communicate it to the public in a simple and approachable manner. Acknowledging the potential of the colourful and easy to understand graphics, Piktochart also hopes to attract customers from among bloggers as well as the education sector.

The companies’ current clients are mostly technology blogs from around the world; they also count Ushi (the Chinese version of LinkedIn) and the Penang government among that number. They are also negotiating with several publishers in Malaysia with plans to expand into Singapore in February 2012. CEO Goh Ai Ching says that the company is also interested in exploring options in the European market.

To try Piktochart for yourself, visit www.piktochart.com. It’s currently in private beta and is completely FREE!

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