It was an “out-of-this-world” interview with the founders of Rocketbook, Jake Epstein and Joe Lemay, on Digital Trends Live. Lemay says he’s always been a “notebook guy,” but one day, while attending an important sales meeting, he realized he had brought the wrong notebook.
“After that,” Lemay explains, “I tried all the tablet solutions, electronic pens, scanning apps, and nothing felt quite right to me, so I had the idea for what is really still a paper notebook in its essence, totally unplugged, but works with our app and proprietary page to do cool and helpful things with your notes.”
Lemay pitched the idea to his friend, Epstein, over a couple pints of beer at a dive bar.
“The truth is, Joe pitched this to me at a complete dive bar, and it’s a great story because he started to get going and I immediately got excited — not just cause I am a notebook guy, but from a commercialization standpoint, we are so busy building technology into bikes, sneakers, and toasters, and meanwhile the notebook was just sitting there collecting dust. … So we just got on this roll and, within a few months, we had our first Indiegogo live for the Rocketbook Wave.”
On the third day on Indiegogo, they made $100,000. They then fine-tuned their product so that it had digital capabilities and could be erased by putting it in a microwave. Then in September of 2016, they were asked to appear on ABC’s entrepreneurial show Shark Tank.
“It was intimidating,” explained Epstein, “and we were early on. We had just got to true ecommerce, before that it was like a $2 million crowdfunding campaign, and we were still working on shipping our first product. We got laughed off when we were on set. Then came the holiday season 2016, before Shark Tank aired, and that’s when we really blossomed and became the number-one-selling notebook on Amazon.”
Between September 2016, when they recorded the episode, and May 2017, when it aired, they made about $10 million in revenue. Their newest product, Everlast, is currently the top-selling notebook on Amazon. It’s essentially a notebook and a pilot friction pen, but once you’re done taking notes, you can use a paper towel or microfiber sheet to erase it. Before you erase your work, you can use the Rocketbook app to scan your notes, saving them forever.
The future is bright for the two friends. They are starting a Kickstarter on Monday for their newest product, the Rocketboard — four stickers that you put in the corners of a whiteboard to magically turn it into a Rocket page that can be scanned and shared across multiple platforms.
Digital Trends Live airs at 9 a.m. PT from Monday through Friday, with highlights available on demand after the stream ends. For more information, check out the Digital Trends Live homepage, and be sure to watch live for the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card, among other prizes.
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