Marc Rosenberg, Inventor of The Edge Desk and Man Behind Furby, Shares Entrepreneurial Story
Finally, a desk for how we work and live today. The Edge Desk System, a must-have for anyone working in a tight space, or on-the-go. It’s a folding desk/kneeling chair/easel that offers a way to be productive and have good posture.
More than 1,500 backers took to the breakthrough product and generated more than $400K, pushing The Edge Desk into the top one percent of all Kickstarter campaigns launched to date. Inventor Marc Rosenberg spoke with Home Business Magazine about his inspiration behind launching The Edge Desk, his company’s mission, and advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
HBM: What inspired you to launch The Edge Desk?
Rosenberg: “We created The Edge Desk after seeing a seismic shift in how people work and live today globally. The time for people to sit at one giant desk for 8 hours straight, suffering attention problems, physical neck and shoulder pain shouldn’t and isn’t being accepted anymore. Whether it be college students in small dorm rooms, young professionals working from their first small apartment, creative professionals needing to work at a desk or easel on the go, or a family in a small apartment anywhere in the world, work is changing. We had an epiphany while shooting a commercial for 13 hours. It was one a.m. and the director had brought in one of the massage chairs you would see at the airport for a 10 minute massage. While sitting in the chair, knees tucked comfortably, back totally straight without pressure, I was asked to look at something on my computer. Instead of getting up, my laptop was put on a chair in front of me and I realized that if we could duplicate this position (without your face in a donut ) that we could address a better, more comfortable way for people to work.
As we began development, everything evolved and revolved around, comfort, mobility, storability and creating the most productivity centric work space reflecting how we live and work today. As we moved forward, we were challenged to rethink not just product but how we did things like funding, marketing, sales and have, and continue to build our business around leading a revolution in products to help people work happier. We launched on Kickstarter in March, setting a goal of $165,000. In 51 hours we passed that goal and went on to become one of the top 1% of campaign raising $412,000 to date we sold 1500 desks through Kickstarter and Indiegogo and those desks were sold in 41 countries around the world.”
HBM: What prior startups/products did you launch or were a part of?
Rosenberg: “Prior to creating The Edge Desk, my focus was always on youth products and I was fortunate to have created marketing plans for some of the most successful toy products in history. I am best recognized for having launched Furby in 1998 with Tiger Electronics. In the 90’s and early 2000’s we created hundreds of breakthrough electronic toys for kids worldwide.”
HBM: How would you describe The Edge Desk and your company’s mission?
Rosenberg: “Our product and mission is very straightforward. The Edge Desk and all follow on product lines are created with the sole purpose of delivering the most comfortable, productivity focused work experience reflecting how we live and work today globally.
Specifically, our first product, The Edge Desk, comes FULLY ASSEMBLED IN THE BOX, and sets up is less than 2 minutes. It is a knee chair, easel and portable work station (desk) all-in-one. It has complete adjustability, comfortably accommodating someone from 4’7, 89 lbs. to 6’3, 315 lbs. It can be taken and set up virtually anywhere and folded for easy storage out of the way when not in use. It patent pending accessory system lets users snap in branded accessories like: Cup Holder, Tablet Holder, Phone, Holder, Art Supplies Holder making having your tools available easy and not in the way.”
HBM: What do you consider your best business achievement?
Rosenberg: “On this project that is easy. My biggest achievement has been building a team to deliver this incredible project completely self-funded outside of Kickstarter money on a timeline that many Fortune 500 companies couldn’t do. From The Rehkempers, our partners who bring 107 patents and unparalleled design, engineering and manufacturing experience, to our factory partner Kingtec to Gayle Gordon Tyriver who has now worked with me at three companies, we have the greatest team. And, we are now building it out to include Distributor Partners like The Emphasis Group in the U.K. and more. In less than 12 months, we have not only designed, tooled and tested the product, but started the business which will position us well for the future.”
HBM: Where do you see yourself with The Edge Desk in 5 years?
Rosenberg: “I’d be lying if I said we have a full five year plan. What I can say is we plan to be creating and marketing productivity centric goods for a global marketplace. We will continue to do this with input from our supporters as they are our lifeblood. Too many companies make things from impulse without a specific audience in mind. We breathe focus. We could not be in business five years from now if we allowed ourselves to make things without first making sure someone, other than us, thinks they are important. That means, at times, killing things, early in the process, as it is far better to do than instead of trying to force a product into the market place. So look for us five years from now leading in innovation on the product side and hopefully marketing as well.”
HBM: Do you have advice for entrepreneurs persisting against barriers?
Rosenberg: “This is somewhat covered above. The advice would be to make sure that whatever you are doing, you must be passionate about first and foremost. At 52, I gave up very lucrative corporate jobs and did everything you’re not supposed to do. I used 401k money to fund The Edge until we went on Kickstarter. It meant putting off retirement plans as I was using funds to do this, but I felt the risk was important for me to take. If you’re going to do this, know that it means huge sacrifice for you and your family and make sure you are ready for that.
Second, be 100% honest and transparent. This is hard as it means admitting what you DON’T know as well as what you do. This was really hard for me, but in doing it, it has opened up this incredible network of resources of people who have helped. You’ll be surprised how much people want you to succeed if you are honest.
Set goals that are reachable. Don’t force yourself to do things you have no way of accomplishing on unrealistic timelines. Work hard, but be honest with yourself about what you can do. And celebrate success daily. Things get messed up every hour, have a plan to fix and be flexible and work your ass off. But also, stop and give credit for successes. You’ll be happier and more likely to stick with it.”
HBM: How has The Edge Desk benefited society as a whole?
Rosenberg: “The Edge Desk absolutely benefits people around the world. We’re helping them work comfortably on THEIR terms, where they want. And we can do this in schools in small countries, we can help artists as they create in parks, at museums, anywhere. We are hugely proud of what The Edge has to offer for the most comfortable, productive work experience ever!”