Jessica Ko, head of design for Google and Opendoor was shocked to discover that 90% of her team spent their time looking through Dropbox searching for resources.
They would often find older versions. They might not find the exact item they wanted. They might even have accidentally chosen the wrong asset.
Ko recalls, “It was so chaotic,” Anyone could modify things or change the folder structure. The mess was so bad that it was impossible to find an alternative .”
She said that Opendoor’s growth made the problem even more complex. __S.8__
Ko recalls that designers quit because they were anxious about it. Dropbox had not yet solved the problem. Google Drive wasn’t a viable alternative. We are constantly exchanging files with designers, who deal the most frequently with files.
In addition to the stress and frustration caused by file storage and sharing, the inability to find the right assets led to many errors which, in turn, led to a lot of lost money, according to Ko.
She said that she spent lots of money on photoshoots as there were no new items or people who could recreate the designs. __S.15__
She added that designers were not the only people who required access to the assets. They were needed by finance teams for tasks such as creating pitch decks.
Ko quit Opendoor in 2018 to create file storage that would be useful for design processes and workflows. She wanted to create a different type of cloud storage to replace Dropbox and Google Drive, “built by and for creatives span>
Ko, the CEO, teamed up early 2020 with Alex Zirbel, the CTO, to create Playbook in San Francisco. She describes it as the “Dropbox” for designers and launched the startup to address the problem. Today, Playbook announced that it had raised $4 million through a seed round of funding led by Founders Fund. The company is valued at $20 million after-money.
The round also included Abstract, Inovia and Maple as well as Wilson Sonsini, Basis Set and Backend. There were also a few angels involved, such Opendoor CEO Eric Wu and Gusto founder Eddie Kim, and SV Angel’s Beth Turner.
Playbook began by trying to change the structure of folders for assets. Then, Playbook added subfolders. The company then set out to improve the sharing of files. __S.25__
Ko explained to TechCrunch that version control is even harder because so many things are done via email and Slack. Playbook has created a storage solution that is accessible by everyone, rather than just sending files through different channels.
Ko stated that these assets were accumulated over years in what felt like a filing cabinet. These days sharing assets has become more collaborative, and it’s possible to involve different types of people such as contractors and freelancers. This makes it very difficult .”
Ko claims that Playbook provides 4TB free storage. This is more than twice the amount of Google Storage, Ko said. It also offers 2,000 times as much Dropbox storage. This encourages people to make use of Playbook as a creative hub, without having to worry about storage. The platform scans, tags and organizes files automatically and makes it easy to visually browse folders and files.
Playbook launched a beta version in March to its design community. It received about 1000 users within two months. The beta was still being used by people, and Playbook had to shut down the beta at one stage to ensure that the product could be managed by all new users.
It currently has around 10,000 beta users. Individual freelancers and design teams from companies such as Fast, Folx, Literati are some of the early users.
Ko stated that the seven-person team wants to concentrate on making sure the product is “perfect” before trying to launch it to enterprise clients. This will most likely take place next year.
Playbook is currently focused on freelancers. __S.41__
Ko stated to TechCrunch, “We first want to solve this use case and then unlock the problem from below up.” __S.43__
Another strategy to support the initial focus of Playbook is for freelancers to introduce Playbook directly into their companies or enterprises. This allows the marketing and sales team to be integrated in the product.
She said that clients can use Playbook to transfer files and assets to them.
Playbook today manages over 2,000,000 assets. Playbook says that it receives “hundreds” of sign-ups for its waitlist each month.
Zirbel stated that the startup plans to expand into i content scanning, similarity detection and previewing, as well as long-term cloud storage.
He said that there are many interesting technological challenges when we focus on cloud storage’s creative side.
John Luttig, Founders Fund founders Fund said that when his company first met Ko and Zirbel in January it was clear that the pair had a “depth of understanding and thoughtfulness about file management” unlike anything he’d seen. He also believes that there’s been little innovation in cloud storage technology since the launch of Dropbox in 2007. __S.51__
He wrote to him via email, “The product leverages modern designs, collaboration principles and artificial intelligence for file management much quicker and easier.” They are extremely qualified to redesign the file system user experience .”
Playbook can leverage the latest advances in computer vision, design, “to create a far superior product to manage, share, and collaborate files.”
Publiated at Thu 26 August 2021, 15:40:05 +0000