Waukesha-based Lillipad Work Solutions Inc. is offering work-from-home consumers a desk to meet their unique needs.
Colin Dowdle, co-founder and chief executive officer of Lillipad, is no stranger to the world of entrepreneurship. He’s used his years of experience to create a first-of-its-kind, portable, height-adjustable desk, built with remote workers in mind. His path toward the creation of Lillipad is several years in the making, dating back to his freshman year at Marquette University in 2013.
At the time, his cousin was working to launch a Chicago-based tech startup, known then as Pressbox, which provided on-demand dry cleaning services. Dowdle initially spent some time with the startup as an intern.
“My eyes were opened up to the world of entrepreneurship while I was working at Pressbox during their pre-revenue days,” Dowdle said. “Being at the hip of the two co-founders of Pressbox was pretty cool to witness firsthand.”
He further bolstered his entrepreneurial skills while at Marquette by creating his own business, Wakes 2 Flakes. After building his own above-ground skating rink in his hometown of Glenview, Illinois, Dowdle began receiving requests from neighbors looking to have rinks created for their own children. Every weekend, he would take Amtrak back to Glenview to build rinks.
“I had a little red truck, and I hired some of my buddies to help me install these above-ground rinks. Marquette was a huge supporter of my entrepreneurial path,” said Dowdle.
After graduating in 2017, Dowdle returned to Pressbox, which had recently been acquired by Procter & Gamble and renamed Tide Cleaners. He led the launch of the company in the Milwaukee market, later returning to Chicago to help the rest of the team. While living in an apartment with two other people who were also working from home, Dowdle quickly realized space was hard to come by.
“I went online to find a height-adjustable table and stopped myself with a few questions, like, ‘Where was I going to put this clunky, non-portable desk in a three-bedroom apartment with two other stakeholders?’” said Dowdle. “I can’t selfishly designate space in the living room for my permanent setup.”
In January 2020, he began pondering the idea of a height-adjustable table that is built for home offices and is also portable. Three months later, the pandemic struck and Dowdle hit the garage with his father, Jim Dowdle, who is his co-founder. Two years later, their product went live.
Dowdle said having his dad as his co-founder came about naturally. His father had recently retired after spending more than 25 years with Scripps Networks. When presented with the idea of Lillipad, Jim Dowdle “immediately turned to B2B solutions for remote workforces,” said Colin.
“We had a couple goals. They were to be designed for the home, rather than a commercial office. Ease of assembly was one goal. Third was portability. The ability to store this unit when needed and really emphasize that work-life balance. The fourth component was integrated accessories,” Dowdle said.
A Lillipad desk, which ships fully assembled, is height-adjustable and features integrated power outlets, monitor mount and surge protector. The desk can roll to whatever location a user needs it and can collapse for storage under a bed or couch.
“The most common reason remote workers don’t have an ergonomic productive workstation is due to an unwillingness to sacrifice permanent space,” said Dowdle. “Lillipad solves the space problem while providing a world-class office setup. Receiving positive feedback after upgrading users from a kitchen counter or table to a sit-stand workstation with two 27-inch monitors never gets old.”
The company closed its seed round at the end of last year and raised $1.2 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The seed funding will be used to scale the business and add new employees.
[caption id="attachment_563447" align="alignnone" width="1280"] Jim and Colin Dowdle.[/caption]
Lillipad Work Solutions Inc.
Innovation:Portable, height-adjustable desk for remote workers
Founders:Colin and Jim Dowdle