Bookmark Profile

Bookmark logo.

Bookmark is a tech startup offering an AI-powered website builder and ecommerce solution. 

Founder(s): David and Nicole Kosmayer

Industry: AI

Founded in: 2016

Location: Toronto, Canada

Interview With David and Nicole Kosmayer

Describe your product or service:

“Bookmark is the world’s first and fastest AI-powered website builder and ecommerce solution. We are a one-stop solution for any entrepreneur or professional looking to build and grow their online presence.”

Describe your company values and mission:

“We believe that every small business owner out there has an idea that they want to bring to the world, and we are here to help them reach the success they deserve. Instead of using old boring website templates, we built a cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence Design Assistant (or AiDA for short). After answering a few questions, simply sit back and watch as AiDA builds a unique website in front of your eyes!”

How are you funded? I.e. type of funding, number of funding rounds, total funding amount.

“Our founders have personally funded $2.5 million, we have secured an angel round of investments at $400,000, and we also have a strategic investment valued at $2.5 million.”

How big is your team? Tell us a little about them!

“A small team of less than 30 members, ranging from talented programmers, marketers, designers, entrepreneurs, and leaders alike. We also have a strategic partnership with Moneris, a payment processing company led by two of Canada’s biggest banks, RBC and BMO.”

How did you come up with and validate your startup idea? Tell us the story!

“After moving on from my first company, I knew that my journey was far from over. I wanted to introduce an idea to the world that would help entrepreneurs, owners, and fellow go-getters like me in the process of growing their own business. That’s when I founded and established Bookmark, the world’s first and fastest AI-powered website builder.

As CEO and founder of Bookmark, I am very passionate about giving everybody (not just the tech-savvy) the ability to build and grow an online presence. As we’ve all seen before, making a website can be a daunting, expensive, and a downright annoying process at times. At Bookmark, our team is dedicated to reforming the future of web design as we introduce AiDA, our Artificial Intelligent Design Assistant. Now, anybody can have a website, no matter their skill set or past experience.” — David

How did you come up with your startup’s name? Did you have other names you considered?

“At one point in my past company, I became a domain enthusiast and purchased as an investment. At first, I tried to start a bookmarking service as a side project in 2009. That project didn’t pan out as planned but decided to hold onto the domain anyway. So when I started working on a website builder in 2014, I instantly thought would be perfect for the project as a brandable name that was easy to remember.

Bookmark is less about a book placeholder and more about making your mark in the digital world. Honestly, I did not consider any others. It was one of the best and easiest decisions I have ever made.” — David

Did you encounter any roadblocks when launching your startup? If so, what were they and what did you do to solve them?

“Every startup founder faces roadblocks and obstacles when launching. These include, but are not limited to: fundraising, self-doubt, doubt from peers, saturated industry competition, fear of risk-taking, comfort of past jobs, and so much more.

To get over these issues, you must always believe in yourself and your vision, remind yourself of your goals, and practice the idea of resilience and confidence. No one can build your business but you.” — Nicole

Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?

“I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life. From the stereotypical paper-route first job, all the way to creating my first company at 22 in my parents’ basement and growing it to $60 million in revenue with a 55-person team.” — David 

“Growing up, my Dad (the ultimate hustler) sparked my ambition at an early age. After spending all of my high-school years studying in Seoul, South Korea, I continued traveling and growing my global perspective. Soon after, I had the opportunity to work in many fields, mostly marketing, operations, and retail management. Conventional or unconventional, large or small, I’m grateful to have worked for some great companies and, more importantly, with some amazing people.” — Nicole

Who is your target market? How did you establish the right market for your startup?

“Our solutions and technology is centered around one thing: giving everyone access to the tools needed to start, build, and grow a successful online presence, no matter their past design or code skill/experience. Because of this, this means our target market is mainly small businesses and those alike of professional individuals who want to create an online store or establish an online identity for their company/professional services. We established this market through various marketing strategies, strategic partnerships, and years of hard work from our team.” — David

What’s your primary marketing strategy?

“Aside from obviously partaking in regular marketing strategies, such as social media promotion, email campaigns, blog articles, etc — we have established many strategic partnerships with multiple different companies, which has also given us an edge to branch out and introduce our solutions to many different potential users. Early on in Bookmark’s journey, we partnered with Moneris, a payment processing solution created by two of Canada’s largest banks, RBC and BMO. Together, we have been able to provide thousands of small to medium businesses with the solutions they need to succeed online, and we continue to partner with more and more amazing companies as we grow larger each and every day.” — Nicole

How did you acquire your first 100 customers?

“We acquired them organically, SEO, blogs, and partnerships. We have always prioritized building our product over overpriced paid acquisition strategies.” — Nicole

What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?

“We keep an NPS rating, value customer feedback, and spend a lot of time digging into churn metrics. The foundation of a healthy business is building a product that customers genuinely love.” — Nicole

What is a song or artist that you listen to for motivation?

“Imagine Dragons and Katy Perry” — Nicole

What’s your favorite startup book and podcast?

“‘How I Built This’ (podcast), ‘The Infinite Game’ by Simon Sinek (book)” — Nicole 

Is there a tool, app, or resource that you swear by to help run your startup?

“I love the Blinkist app for book soundbites, and the Calm app to keep me centered.” — Nicole 

What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?

“The extreme peaks and valleys and how to manage your mindset through them.” — Nicole

When did you know it was time to quit your day job to focus on your startup?

“Meditation is a habit that took some real work on my end.” — Nicole

How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?

“I disconnect and focus on my family — it keeps me grounded and grateful.” — Nicole

What was your first job and what did it teach you?

“My first job was with Collega — the Canadian distributor for AVEDA. It taught me how to be flexible and to dive into any task. The founder of this company was an inspirational leader and entrepreneur, and I learned a lot about how to hustle and build.” — Nicole

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