LONDON, June 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
OpenDesk, the five person UK start-up that aims to disrupt the global market for furniture, is today launching a crowdfunding campaign allowing anyone in the UK to get a stake in a business with global aspirations. The start-up, which is less than one year old, has already built a global footprint, selling in 37 countries through a network of over 200 professional workshops.
The revolutionary idea behind OpenDesk is local making. Using OpenDesk, you can browse a collection of furniture designs from a range of international designers and have them made locally for you through a network of professional workshops. It's all made possible by digital manufacturing, the same kind of technology that's driving the 3D printing revolution.
Nick Ierodiaconou, OpenDesk Founder:
"We've created a global furniture brand faster than any other company. In less than a year, we've built a network that is selling to customers in 37 countries, from individuals to companies like Top10, Poke and Digital Ocean. We see OpenDesk as a 21st-century version of IKEA that makes furniture fun, engaging and personal."
At the heart of the OpenDesk business are independent designers. OpenDesk offers them the ability to sell all over the world, without them having to invest in inventory or having to secure manufacturing or distribution deals. Today, OpenDesk has over 100 designers either on site or in their pipeline from places like the UK, US, Brazil and Bulgaria.
OpenDesk connect these designers with a global network of professional makers who have the skills and equipment to make their products. Today OpenDesk is focused on products that can be made with a CNC router (a widely available, £10k piece of equipment with a computer controlled drill head).
The workshops download the 'machine ready' design from the site, load them into their equipment and cut out the pieces. They are then hand finished, delivered flat packed and assembled on site. Already over 200 workshops in 37 countries have signed up to be part of the OpenDesk network.
For the customer, OpenDesk creates a totally new buying experience where you deal directly with the designer and local maker. So not only can you access the latest designs from talented young designers from all over the world, you can also see exactly where and when your product is being made and talk directly to your maker about materials and customisation. Overall, it's greener and more sustainable, analogous to buying from a farmers' market rather than a supermarket.
Nick Ierodiaconou, OpenDesk Founder:
"We're doing to the furniture business what AirBnB has done to the hotel industry. By designing digital furniture that can be made locally, we cut out the whole murky world of logistics and supply chain. The customer experience becomes social and direct: something to enjoy being part of and share with your friends."
Ian Bennink, OpenDesk Founder:
"Our long-term goal is to build an online marketplace for digitally fabricated goods. An eBay for open making. To get there, our focus has been on showing just how viable the technology and business model already is, not just for the tens of thousands of enthusiasts downloading and making OpenDesk furniture but also for the designers, makers and companies already making money and placing repeat orders."
The crowdfunding campaign goes live from today on Crowdcube.com, but will launch formally with a breakfast briefing event on Wednesday 18th June at The Hub, Westminster, in central London. If you're interested in attending the event, full details and RSVP are here: https://bit.ly/od-crowdfund-launch
Notes for Editors
- Website: https://www.opendesk.cc
- Investment page: https://www.opendesk.cc/invest
- Crowdcube campaign: http://crowdcube.com/investment/open-desk-15500
- Images: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ysz087wf7wcb3e8/Images.zip
- Video: https://vimeo.com/opendesk/design-for-open-making
Crowd Equity Campaign
OpenDesk have secured a £248k grant from the UK Technology Strategy Board and backing from Telefonica's Wayra accelerator. The company is now raising additional investment by launching a crowd equity campaign on the 18th June 2014.
This is an opportunity for anyone (general public as well as professional investors) to invest in the company in exchange for an equity stake. The campaign will raise between £150-250k in a three-month window on a first-come first-served basis, at a (pre) valuation of £1.25m.
See http://crowdcube.com/investment/open-desk-15500 for more information.
OpenDesk makes money by selling work space furniture. A product typically costs between £250 and £1,000. This price is typically broken down as follows:
- 60% to the maker for manufacturing and materials
- 30% to the OpenDesk platform
- 10% to the Designer
This breakdown varies based on the type and location of the sale. Currently, a high proportion of sales are managed by OpenDesk. Over time, more OpenDesks will be sold through intermediaries (retailers, fit out companies) and directly from makers through our online marketplace. See https://www.opendesk.cc/open/join/model for more information.
OpenDesk is a five person, London-based company, spun out of award-winning architecture and strategic design firm 00. The founders are:
- James Arthur: full stack developer; co-founded WikiHouse and Green.tv; worked with Nokia, Sony, IDEO on social web platforms.
- Ian Bennink: co-founded two start-ups; worked as Global Marketing Director for Philips Lighting and Head of Project Management Nokia China.
- Tim Carrigan: previously managing partner of WPP and Chairman and CEO of mobile agency Ad.IQ, recently acquired by Incentivated.
- Nick Ierodiaconou: architect and product designer; co-designed the OpenDesk range and TED Prize-winning WikiHouse open source set.
- Joni Steiner: architect and product designer; co-designed the OpenDesk range and TED Prize-winning WikiHouse open source set.
The team, who had previously created WikiHouse, the world's first open source house, were commissioned by product design agency Mint Digital to fit out their new offices in London and New York. This lead to the creation of a desk design that could be emailed between locations, which became the original OpenDesk Lean Desk design.
The OpenDesk website was launched in July 2013 with a range of three open source designs. Following major press coverage in August 2013, the range was expanded rapidly, including through a design partnership with leading US designers AtFAB.
About Open Making
OpenDesk has a global network of makers and a collection of furniture by a range of international designers. Because that furniture is designed for digital fabrication, it can be made locally - on demand, anywhere in the world. This model is called "Open Making":
- Designers get a global distribution channel.
- Makers get profitable jobs and new customers.
- You get designer products without the designer price tag, a more social, eco-friendly alternative to mass-production and an affordable way to buy custom made products.
See https://www.opendesk.cc/how-it-works/ for more information.
About Digital Fabrication
Digital fabrication is a type of manufacturing process where the machine used is controlled by a computer. The most common forms of digital fabrication are:
- CNC Machining: where, typically, shapes are cut out of wooden sheets.
- 3D Printing: where objects are built up out of layers of metal or plastic.
- Laser Cutting: where materials like metal are burnt or melted by a laser beam.
See https://www.opendesk.cc/how-it-works/digital-fabrication for more information.
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