What is Designbook anyway?

Full disclosure: the founders of Designbook (Kyle Clark and Aaron Pollak) are engineers. Why does this matter? Well it doesn’t really matter, but if you’re looking to understand the Designbook brand, its design and its functionality then it’s important to go back to the beginning and into the brain of an engineer…

Engineering students keep a ‘design book’ for their capstone project courses — apparently it’s brown. Students are taught how to format the pages and carefully design their prototype. What a design book does not do (at least in its traditional form) is teach the students how to execute their idea. Enter Designbook (2.0).

Designbook is a peer-to-peer marketplace for emerging businesses. The platform borrows from the traditional brown ‘design book’ and helps users to carefully plan their product or concept and collaborate with like-minded peers, business owners and investors. It simplifies communication and enhances the planning process, diversifies potential collaboration opportunities and streamlines the fundraising process.

Here are the four different ways I think that Designbook platform can help you and your business get to the next step:

  1. Planning (2.0)

You’ve got an idea, concept or existing business. Great. Now what? Traditionally, you would write a business plan and start pitching your idea to friends, fools, your family for feedback and, hopefully, get money to get you started. It’s time consuming and a completely inefficient use of your time. Most innovators don’t even get off the runway and are left with a cool idea in their heads. I’m in that club, so I speak from experience.

So how is Designbook different? First off, it takes a static document (read: business plan) and breaks it down into its component parts, simplifying the process of getting started. It combines traditional and new media with interactive planning tools to create a richer, more complete experience for your friends, fools, family, followers, future team members and funders to understand your (brilliant) idea and how you plan to systematically execute it.

And while we’ve gotten feedback from some entrepreneurs that there is too much value in their idea to make it public, please know that you can use the planning part of Designbook’s tool and never publish it to the wider community. It’s free and really easy to use, so we invite you to try it all the same!

2. Increases visibility and strengthens your business model

The mere speed of innovation today requires people to collaborate and communicate in different and more efficient ways. Get seen or risk not getting noticed at all. The old world of only being introduced to investors from a mutual connection is an old-fashioned business model in a new world full of opportunities. Investors are reaching out beyond their traditional boundaries and proactively searching for new, innovative ideas. You need to be there.

Furthermore, community members on the Designbook platform can review products and provide critical feedback in a non-public forum to help you improve your pitch, strategy, financial projections etc. while you plan, build a team, rollout a marketing campaign and increase sales before the launch of your equity campaign.

3. Build your team

The peer-to-peer economy (also referred to as the sharing economy) is here. Think Uber and Airbnb for collaborative consumption (peer-to-peer services) and Designbook for the collaborative creation of startup enterprises.

My 74-year old stepfather is the perfect example of someone who can benefit from collaborative creation: he is a literacy guru; he can literally teach anyone how to read. He has an award-winning reading and math program for home-schoolers, which he has been trying to transfer to a digital format for the past five years. He has an existing product that is proven, but he needs younger tech-savvy team members that can get him past the point of being an old guy with an old technology to being a respected leader of a team of the next generation. We’ve got that.

Anyone looking for talent can post an opportunity in their company to the wider community on Designbook for cash compensation or in exchange for equity (commonly referred to as sweat equity). The platform allows you to create and manage a vesting schedule (when you will receive the equity) with optional cliffs (equity is granted only after a specified term of service). It is one of the most used features on Designbook for business creators and just one of the tools that make our platform an all-in-one solution for startups and emerging businesses in today’s economy.

4. Get funded

First off, it’s probably helpful to explain the four different kinds of crowdfunding:

1) Donation crowdfunding: the donation of money to a project, cause, or company for no compensation.

2) Rewards crowdfunding: the exchange of money to a project, cause or company for a product, discount or opportunity.

3) Debt crowdfunding: the lending of money from the crowd to individuals or companies instead of using traditional moneylenders.

4) Equity crowdfunding: investors receive ownership in a company (equity) in return for their monetary contribution.

Designbook will focus on equity crowdfunding campaigns. We will automate the process of generating an offering document (also called a Private Placement Memorandum) and streamline the investment process to save both entrepreneurs and investors time and money. Kyle, Aaron and a team of really awesome programmers are finalizing the investment portion of the site now. I’m really excited for entrepreneurs and investors alike to see the next stage of our development and understand why Designbook is going to help launch the next generation of businesses.

Find out how Designbook can help you. Startup Now.

Contact me anytime: kim@designbook.com