Rocketbook: Smart Notebook

SEASON 8 EPISODE 24
Pitchmicrowavable, reusuable, smart notebook
EntrepreneurJake Epstein and Joe LeMay
Asked For$400,000 for 10%
Deal NO DEAL
SharkNO SHARK
StatusACQUIRED, IN BUSINESS

Company Background

What is Rocketbook?

The Rocketbook is the innovation in notebook technology that gives you the freedom of a traditional pen and paper notebook with the convenience of accessing your notes from anywhere.

The smart reusable notebook connects to the cloud through the Rocketbook App which is integrated with Google Docs, Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, Slack, Box and email. The Rocketbook is perfect for taking notes, drawings, shopping lists, flow charts, presentations or whatever comes to mind.

Who are the Rocketbook Founders?

Jake Epstein and Joe Lemay are the co-founders of Rocketbook. Epstein attended Purdue University where he obtained a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Lemay attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated with an MBA in 2006.

Rocketbook isn’t the only company Epstein has founded, in fact, he has co-founded several companies prior to Rocketbook and also worked as a Hardware Design Engineer. Lemay worked as an Account Executive for salesforce.com. The duo continues to run Rocketbook today with Epstein as the Chief Innovative Officer and Lemay as the CEO.

Founder’s Story

The Rocketbook first came to life in 2013 when co-founder Joe LeMay forgot to bring a crucial notebook to a sales meeting. He spent most of the following year looking for solutions that would allow him to access his notes from anywhere and never relive such a painfully embarrasing moment ever again.

In late 2014, he met co-founder Jake Epstein and after pitching the idea for a “cloud connected paper notebook”, Jake was all in. The next day, the duo would begin work on what would become the Rocketbook.

By 2015, Jake and Joe had launched their Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns for the first iteration of their microwavable notebook, the Rocketbook Wave.

The crowdfunding campaigns managed to raise over $1.8 million which was used to develop the first wave of the futuristic notebook for its 28,000+ backers.

By Summer 2016, the Rocketbook Wave and accessories were ready for sale on the company website and through Amazon. By the end of 2016, the Rocketbook Wave would become “the #1 selling notebook on Amazon.com.”

In April 2017, Rocketbook launched a crowdfunding campaign for the Rocketbook Everlast.

The campaign went on to raise over $2.7 million with 42,000+ backers. and set the record as the “#1 office/school product in crowdfunding history.”

Rocketbook On Shark Tank

The Rocketbook duo went face-to-face with the Sharks in the episode aired on May 12th 2017 where they showcased the Rocketbook Wave.

Despite their astronomical success, the idea was a little too far out of this world for the Sharks.

Kevin questions why they wouldn’t want to sell more than one book as they could make more money.

At this point, the Rocketbook entrepreneurs reveal that they’ve sold over 75,000 books so far, which piques the sharks’ interests. Still, Kevin points out that an iPad could achieve the same effect.

Barbara calls it the “funniest, whackiest, most ridiculous thing” she’s heard of in a long time and worries that it could be viewed as a gimmick.

Robert just doesn’t get it and O’Leary calls it “crazy” as he continues to struggle with the idea of making money off a reusable product.

Lori likes that they reinvented the notebook but feels there are too many steps involved.

Mark Cuban, who initially called it “brilliant”, can’t envision a Rocketbook future and ultimately, all the sharks go out.

Rocketbook After Shark Tank Update

Life for Rocketbook after Shark Tank has been pretty stellar. The company has gone on to sell over 500,000 Rocketbooks in BestBuy, Office Depot, Staples, and Amazon worldwide.

By 2020, Rocketbook had $32 million in Net Sales. Rocketbook continues to be a massive success today, selling its products on its website as well as Amazon and other retailers for less than $40.00 each.

Rocketbook recently launched its eighth Kickstarter for a new product: The Rocketbook Axis – a new and improved notebook with a hard composite cover. The campaign currently has over $500,000 raised from 4,648 backers.

In March of 2020 Epstein and Lemay made the decision to sell Rocketbook for $40 million to Bic, the consumer manufacturing company best known for its lighters and ballpoint pens. Rocketbook now operates as an independent subsidiary of Bic.

Rocketbook on a Mission

Rocketbook prides itself on being a sustainability-oriented company, however, they admit that wasn’t the original goal. After releasing the notebooks, Rocketbook naturally began getting associated with sustainability because of the amount of paper the notebooks were saving. This prompted them to make sustainability a key priority of the business, and today they continue to strive for improvement whenever it is possible.

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