The Rocketbook Story
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The Rocketbook Story

Posted by Kim Palacios on

Notebooks that can be erased in the microwave? Pages that wipe with water? An innovative seven-symbol system? The "craziest product ever on Shark Tank"? Yeah, there's a story behind all this...

 
Late 2013. Working as a sales executive at Salesforce.com, co-Founder Joe Lemay forgets to pack the correct notebook for an important sales meeting. 
#meetingfail
 
     
Most of 2014. Looking for a solution Joe tries out electronic pens and smart notebooks. Nothing feels quite right. Joe wonders if there might be a need to create a new product.
December 2014. At a local dive bar, Joe has a beer with buddy and product developer Jake Epstein, and pitches the idea for the “cloud connected paper notebook that keeps us organized”. Jake and Joe get to work the next day.
 
 

March 2015. Rocketbook announces the microwave-to-erase Rocketbook while at the 2015 Launch festival. During rehearsals, famed angel investor Jason Calacanis scoffs at the product, says to Joe, “So who the fuck do you think you are, the Elon Musk of notebooks?”

While on stage, Jake and Joe launch crowdfunding for the Rocketbook Wave which goes on to raise a total of $1,889,030 between Kickstarter and Indiegogo. IndieGogo funding used to build the first books, the app and integrations with Google Docs, Dropbox, Evernote, email. Kickstarter funds used to build second batch of books, plus integrations with Slack, Box, iCloud.

The Rest of 2015. Following a successful raise of crowdfunding dollars, Jake and Joe refine the Rocketbook Wave materials and hire firms to conduct extensive QA testing. It starts to become clear that it will be a lot harder than Jake and Joe believed to refine the product and deliver a notebook that erases properly and safely in various microwaves around the world.

Rocketbook announces to backers that Rocketbook Wave deliveries will be later than estimated. Backers respond with a mix of encouraging comments and death threats.

 
 
 

September 2015. 5 months later than the estimated ship date, the first Rocketbook Waves begin to ship to 28,000 IndieGogo backers. R&D challenges are over, but the team now needs to hustle to fix major glitches with manufacturing, fulfillment vendors.

February 2016. With all manufacturing and fulfillment glitches fixed, Rocketbook launches a Kickstarter campaign to finance the second batch of Rocketbook Waves and integrations for Box, iCloud and Slack. 
April 2016. Rocketbook Waves are shipped to Kickstarter backers 4 months early. It feels awesome. 
May 2016. Rocketbook graduates from Techstars Boston startup accelerator.
 
 

June 2016. The first Rocketbook web site launches, and Rocketbook Waves and other products are available for general sale online.

August 2016. Rocketbook Wave becomes available on Amazon.com.
 
 
September 2016. Rocketbook starts to see orders from corporations like Pepsi, Accenture, Hubspot and NASA.
October 2016. Jake and Joe get kicked out of a national office supply store while filming the legendary Everlast video
 
 
November 2016. Rocketbook climbs to be the #1 selling notebook on Amazon.com, beating out brands such as Moleskine, 5-Star and Mead

December 2016. Rocketbook is a popular Holiday gift. Techno Claus features the Rocketbook Wave on CBS Sunday Morning, blowing away all sales predictions. A week before Christmas, all inventory is gone.

April 2017. The Rocketbook Everlast raises over $2.5mm in pre-orders, breaking Wave records as the #1 office/school product in crowdfunding history. Units begin to ship to early backers 

 

 


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