A group of design industry veterans has launched the FormTap self-publishing product marketplace, built to offer designers, makers and inventors an alternative means of getting their product ideas to market.
FormTap has been borne out of the recognition that everyone has product ideas that they believe could make life easier and should be given the opportunity to share.
The traditional routes for turning product ideas into a marketable reality are often complicated, expensive and can take years, meaning that the majority are likely to forever retain their ‘concept’ status. FormTap is a streamlined and low-risk approach to product testing, manufacture, sales and distribution that, at the same time, enables consumers to influence the development of products they buy.
FormTap invites ‘anyone’ to submit details of their product idea, including any visuals, via the Get your idea built page on its website. The FormTap team of designers assesses the submission and if deemed promising, begins by public beta testing the product.
On-demand manufacturing technologies—namely 3D printing, CNC machining and laser cutting—are used to create a first physical version of the product. The company then lists, markets and sells the product on its site, at the same time requesting feedback from customers on ways it might be improved.
If there proves to be sufficiently high demand for the product, FormTap arranges the necessary crowdfunding and assumes responsibility for its development—ensuring that suggested improvements are implemented—mass manufacture, sales and distribution. All beta testers receive the final version of the product for free as a reward for their participation.
Two of FormTap’s founders, Viktor Jondal and Peter Ragonetti, possess over 30 years’ product design experience and are responsible for millions of units sold. The company’s third founder and chief executive officer (CEO), James McArthur, is a former employee of desktop 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot and has an extensive background in sales and business development. Jondal, Ragonetti and McArthur also hold the same titles in Fleks 3D, FormTap’s subsidiary company and manufacturer of a flexible build plate for 3D printers.
An additional four designers bring the total number of FormTap team members to seven, affording a high level of expertise that covers not only design but R&D, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution.