Every year feels like the biggest year when in an early startup, so forgive me when I say 2022 felt huge, with so many important milestones; we raised a seed round, had five Product Hunt launches, and met in-person for the first time since the company started 2.5 years ago. So let's get to it, here are designstripe's highlights!
First things first, check out this awesome video of our 2022, created by our Head of Brand Vincent 😎
Okay, now on to the post:
We started the year raising a seed round of $10 million, with Insight Partners and Silicon Valley Bank leading the investment. Our CEO Francois, Marin, Gen, and the whole team worked insanely hard to make this happen, and we ended up getting some press from Business Insider, featuring Francois' method of fundraising through Loom videos instead of a standard pitch deck.
5 Product Hunt Launches
I love Product Hunt, I find it legitimately exhilarating, both for the amazing new ideas that other makers and companies come up with, and for the thrill of revealing our own projects.
This year we had 5 launches for different products across our platform, which was a huge part of the year for us. The feedback and the long-term effects that these launches have really boost momentum, long after launch day.
DrawKit 3D Builder - Figma plugin
As part of a new focus on exploring 3D styles, in addition to our standard 2D, the team created a Figma plugin for DrawKit. This plugin enables users to combine various 3D components directly on the Figma canvas through simple drag and drop. It was great being able to add more features to DrawKit, and we hit #2 of the day.
Our first foray into animation with designstripe resulted in Crayon, a clever tool (if I may say so myself!) that gives users the ability to upload any SVG and receive a fun, lively animation file which can then be adjusted with sliders and simple controls. We reached the #1 spot for the day with Crayon, people were pretty stoked on this one!
DrawKit underwent a major makeover! We implemented a full visual rebrand and a new subscription model, led by Vincent and Anne. We had a few challenges when it came to our tech stack, but users and signups weren't impacted, and the launch was wonderfully successful, reaching #2 spot of the day. I'm so happy to have seen DrawKit grow and evolve – it's been my baby since before I first started working on designstripe. We ended the year with more than 50k users signed up, across both free and paid accounts.
Mockups by designstripe
This was a big milestone for us. Ever since day 1, we've wanted to turn designstripe into a complete design tool, beyond customisable illustrations, and this feature marked a major step in that direction. It enabled users to upload their own assets into designstripe designs for 3D mockups on devices, prints, computers, products, and more – all within the browser. We’ve been continually increasing the selection and adding new customisation options, and will continue to do so throughout 2023, so keep an eye on it! This also reached #1 Product of the Day.
A.I. Holiday Card Generator
For our last project of the year, we started working with Artificial Intelligence. ChatGPT and GPT3 have been making waves, and we wanted to dive in ourselves; through combining GPT3 with image generation models, we were able to create a fun Christmas card generator. This launch rose to the #18 spot of the day, and our work has provided a strong base for future advancements and our plans for 2023.
One of the highlights of 2022 was finally getting the opportunity to meet in person.
When we started the company in January 2020, we had plans to meet up just 2 months later in March, but as we all know, COVID suuuuucks. For 2.5 years, we were a completely remote-first company, never having the opportunity to bond in person. Which was pretty wild now that I think about it; we grew from a 4 person founding team to over 25 team mates, multiple launches, and a raise, without the leadership team ever being in the same room. But in August, we finally, FINALLY made it happen.
We booked a beautiful lake house about an hour north of Montreal and spent a week bonding as a team. We cooked and ate together, did activities organized by our Culture team, explored Montreal and Val Morin, and just enjoyed each other's company. It was the perfect balance of work and play. We had dinners, made s'mores around a fire, swam in the pool, did a scavenger hunt, had team yoga, and managed to get some work done around all of this.
We also took this as an opportunity to create our first round of designstripe merch, with a merch pack prepared for every team member. Our branding team did an awesome job with these, I wear the pullover all the time back home in Sydney 🤩
But the most important thing we gained from this in-person meetup was the impact it had on our team culture. Being able to get to know people outside of a computer screen, share experiences and in-jokes, brainstorm over lunch or have quick chats without any lag or buffering video made a monumental difference in our productivity and feeling close as a team.
The retreat was a reminder that while remote work has its perks – flexibility, freedom, family time, happiness – it's important to remember the value of in-person events. They truly are irreplaceable, and we're looking forward to 2023's retreat already.
Shoutout to Scott for some of these shots, check out his photography here 😄
We ended 2022 with the A.I. revolution of ChatGPT hitting the mainstream. We’d already started working on A.I. features for designstripe, so this was especially exciting, and the mainstream adoption helped speed up our timeline and refine the direction of our product for the start of 2023.
We're very close to the next large release for designstripe, moving closer and closer to that fully integrated design platform we've been imagining, and I can't wait to show it to you very soon.
Hope you also had a fantastic 2022, and that you're also gearing up for a big 2023; it's going to be a fascinating year with A.I. advancements, rumours of Apple bringing AR/VR to the mainstream, and who knows what else.
I'm also planning on writing in this blog regularly this year, so click the subscribe button for more, and I'll see you very soon 👋