Picture this: You walk into one of the biggest sales meetings of your life, ready to give it your all. As you prepare for the meeting to start, you reach into your bag and realize the notebook you brought isn’t the one you need — you left the notebook with your carefully articulated pitch at home.
Situations like this are what bad dreams are made of. For Joe Lemay, co-founder of Rocketbook, they’re also where ingenious ideas come from.
Enter the Rocketbook Wave
What started out as a meeting disaster quickly turned into determination to develop a more reliable way to take notes. Soon, Lemay and Rocketbook co-founder, Jake Epstein, were developing their first product — the Rocketbook Wave.
Combining the freedom of pen and paper with the capability of the cloud, the Rocketbook Wave revolutionized the notebook. Reusable and cloud-ready, it is able to digitize notes while preserving the intrinsic value of putting a pen to paper.
How does it work? Simply use any Pilot Frixion pen, marker, or highlighter to make notes on Rocketbook Wave’s 80 intelligent pages. Then, snap a picture with your phone using the free Rocketbook app. In an instant your notes are organized, digitized and safely filed in the destination of your choice. When you’ve filled up all your pages and transferred them safely to the cloud, simply microwave the notebook with a mug of water and poof — brand new notebook!
After seeing how other notebooks were marketed, Lemay and Epstein wanted to do something different. Seeking a business based on fellowship with those interested in their idea, the duo turned to crowdfunding.
“Traditional product development comes with limitations, in terms of customer insights,” explains Rocketbook’s Chief Marketing Officer, Kim Palacios. “With crowdfunding, you get a chance to hear feedback from early customers who are invested in making the product great, and incorporating that feedback to make a product people will really love.”
In fact, the ability to have continuous contact with initial backers — and hear how their products were being used — allowed the Rocketbook team to evolve their idea and create additional products. Earlier this year, they launched a second Indiegogo campaign for The Everlast Notebook.
“When I hear a suggestion from a customer, I tell the head of product about it,” explained Kim. “Some backers have been surprised by how receptive we’ve been to ideas and how we’ve been engaged.”
Don’t let their success fool you — the road to crowdfunding success wasn’t always a smooth ride for Rocketbook.
“The biggest learning curve came earlier on in terms of managing backer expectations,” said Kim. “The first time we ran a campaign, we didn’t fully appreciate how long the path would be to fulfilling those orders.”
Lemay and Epstein didn’t let this hiccup hinder their entrepreneurial spirits. Instead, it taught them the importance of a well-managed supply chain when relying on raw materials and dealing with multiple suppliers.
Life after crowdfunding
Following the completion of the Rocketbook Wave campaign, Lemay and Epstein were able to expand their idea into a multi-channel business. After using crowdfunding as a pre-sales tool, Rocketbooks have become a bestseller on Amazon. They are also available on both Staples.com and OfficeDepot.com. Rocketbook Wave was even featured on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. They then went on to create another product, the Everlast notebook, which also gained an audience through crowdfunding and is now available on Indiegogo Marketplace.
What’s it like being InDemand
Rocketbook originally launched and gained a following on a different crowdfunding platform. But when their campaign finished, they wanted to keep their momentum going and raise more funds. So they transferred their campaigns onto Indiegogo’s InDemand platform. Designed as a way for entrepreneurs to keep raising money after a successful campaign, InDemand allowed Rocketbook to pursue new audiences and collect additional pre-orders without deadlines or limits. Thanks to InDemand, they received ongoing exposure while they got ready to ship their products and raised an additional $1 million in funding.
“InDemand has been a really positive experience for us,” explained Kim. In fact, she says it has helped Rocketbook generate even more interest and excitement for The Everlast Notebook.
Focusing on their brand community, Rocketbook continues to generate a lot of natural enthusiasm from consumers. In fact, as Lemay and Epstein continue to grow their business, one thing is certain — crowdfunding will always be at the heart of their success.
Looking to build a community around your idea? Discover how Indiegogo can help you find the right backers for your business.