Design 1st Demonstrates Significant Momentum in 2020

Ability to Turn Touchable Ideas into Commercialized Products Fuels Growth Across North America 

January 19, 2021 – Design 1st, one of the most trusted full-service product design-engineering firms across North America, today announced the company experienced strong growth in 2020 across North America with an increase of 16% in project bookings and over 10% in profitability compared to the previous fiscal year.

This growth reinforces the organizational need for senior hands-on new product design experts that provide the risk assessment early, and are skilled in the end to end technical and service capabilities to bring new products to market faster that achieve commercial success and have a positive impact on customers.

Among a thousand decisions that need to be made in the product design lifecycle, there are fewer than 10 critical decisions that if made incorrectly, will lead to new product failure in the market. For over 25 years, Design 1st has guided organizations to ensure the critical decisions are made correctly, risks are identified early, and touchable ideas are transformed into successful, commercialized products.

This past year was no exception. Although the global pandemic resulted in a sudden shift to a global remote workforce, Design 1st continued to deliver the necessary technology expertise and end to end product design services without interruption to help Inventive Entrepreneurs, SMBS and enterprise organizations bring innovative physical products into new geographies and market.

Design 1st company highlights include:

  • 16% growth in new client projects
  • 120% YoY growth in new consumer technology projects, 75% YoY growth in new Cleantech projects and 45% YoY growth in new IoT projects
  • Nearly 70 new products delivered to market
  • 20% employee growth
  • Recognition in prestigious Clutch 2020 Top Global Creative & Design Agency Listing

“It’s extremely rewarding to see a growing number of organizations benefit from Design 1st’s capabilities and services, which are becoming more essential as business success is largely based on how your product succeeds in market and how it influences your customers,” said Kevin Bailey, CEO, Design 1st.

“Any new hardware product design comes with risk and we’re committed to identifying the supply, marketing and product risks early, guide clients through the entire product development lifecycle, and deliver a product that not only supports the business strategy, but wins in market.”

A year of Connected, Cleantech and COVID-19 New Product Designs

Over the past year, a large number of companies across the US and Canada selected Design 1st as their partner of choice to design technically challenging products. The company managed nearly 70 projects across a variety of industries including IoT (19%), Cleantech (10%), Medical (13%), Robotics (10%) and Consumer (19%), with a percentage of those specifically designed for COVID 19 protection.

2020 project highlights include:

  • Cloud9 Technologies, a leader in cloud-based voice trading communications, selected Design 1st to develop a mission critical communications smart multi-line \’keyboard\’ phone that connects with the company’s new cloud trader software, which is the only institutionally compliant voice trading platform that is purpose-built for high-touch communication between traders and their counterparties. According to Jerry Starr, Cloud9 Technologies Co-Founder and CEO, “the Design 1st team helped us navigate through the entire product development process from concept through to manufacturing.” Successful product delivery to the market supported the needs of a large and fast-growing financial trader customer base. Cloud9 was also named CB Insights’ third annual Fintech 250 ranking of the most promising private financial technology startups in the world.
  • Molecule USA, Inc. is a think-tank that develops disruptive, impactful solutions to humanitarian aid and sustainability challenges. In 2020, the company won The Irish Laboratories 2020 “Innovation of the Year” Award for its water sorbent technology. Today, Molecule offers a scientifically-backed water resilience technology that harnesses the humidity in the air — even in dry, desert climates — to provide a sustainable supply of clean water regardless of location. Molecule selected Design 1st to assist in the prototype development and testing for their new best-in-class line of Sorbent-Enhanced Atmospheric Water Generators. “I did a lot of due diligence on product development companies and Design 1st had the deepest bench for technical capability,” said Kurt Francis, CTO at Molecule. “Design 1st worked on a very broad range of products with successful commercialization and had all the technical expertise we needed in-house. Design 1st\’s early efforts in prototype development helped us move from a raw powder to embedded substrate and then in refinement and rigorous testing on the path to our commercial products. They are absolutely fantastic to work with.\”
  • CleanSlateUV reinvented personal hygiene well before the COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves across the globe. The company is creating impact by focusing on incorporating hand hygiene with smartphone hygiene to improve safety and wellbeing. “Smartphone surfaces are a reservoir for pathogenic microorganisms, they are the third hand we never clean,” says Taylor Mann, CleanSlate CEO and Founder. Studies have shown that smartphones and small high-touch items can contribute to transmission of infections in the environment. To tackle this issue, CleanSlate engineered a device that leverages the simplicity of ultraviolet-C light technology to destroy the most dangerous microorganisms causing disease in humans in only 20 seconds. The device is so powerful that up to 99.999% of common germs, including superbugs and SARS-CoV-2 can be inactivated in one cycle, without any chemical additives. In 2020, CleanSlate’s mission was fast-tracked and they selected Design 1st to help develop the next generation of smartphone sanitizers. The product, ideally suited for healthcare, as well as public locations including restaurants and retail establishments, is planned for market release by mid-year and will cement CleanSlate as the leading smartphone sanitizer company in the UV-C industry.

About Design 1st

Design 1st is one of the most trusted full-service product design firms across North America, with a seasoned team consisting of diverse technical expertise, over 750 projects developed, and 130 client patents secured. From Entrepreneur to Enterprise, we enable companies to quickly scale capabilities throughout their new product development cycles by leveraging our core competencies in industrial design, mechanical engineering, electronics engineering, embedded firmware, and manufacturing setup. Design 1st\’s plug-in experienced team has helped clients transform their touchable ideas into commercialized hardgoods products across a variety of industries and influenced millions of people globally. To learn more, visit

Media Contact:

Lisa Williams

+1 (339) 788-0067

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