Before Clark Valberg founded InVision, he was running a small, hyper-specialized design and development shop. One of his clients, a company that made instructional coursework for schools wanted a web app to take its content online. The project leader selected by the company was an elderly assistant who had no prior experience as a product manager. “She was the one who was supposed to collect requirements for the app,” Valberg recalls. “But she didn’t know what requirements were.” And that’s when Clark Valberg realised that the requirements process was broken. “For anything that requires understanding how other people feel in an organization, a single document wasn’t going to work.” he says.
Product Market Fit
Clark Valberg and his team created a simple platform that allowed clients to view and comment on designs, and used it for their own projects. It worked very well. Valberg didn't want to turn it into a full-fledged business yet. A member of his team persuaded him, and introduced him to Venture Capitalist Daniel Wolfson. Wolfson immediately saw InVision's potential and connected him to some investors at FirstMark Capital. From there, a deal unfolded rapidly. By the time Clark Valberg secured their seed round of $1.1 million, users were signing up by the hundreds every day. It was at this point that he decided to go all in on InVision.
Assembling the necessary talent to build InVision was a challenge. Clark Valberg lived and worked in New York, but Google's recent expansion of its Manhattan office meant he couldn't afford to compete with it for NYC's limited supply of coders. So instead Valberg targeted the best engineers in places like Saskatchewan, Wichita, and Phoenix, and offered them twice what they were earning, as well as control over their schedules and locations. It worked out so well, Valberg decided to eschew physical offices entirely. Clark Valberg and his remote team created the prototype for InVision and launched it in 2011. Its USP was that it allowed other people to chime in on a wireframe design, so that they could gather needs and feedback over time.
Changing the Game
This was a perfect fit for large teams where the design passed through various mediation points. At the time, the two major players in this space were Adobe and Sketch - both which lacked the connectivity that InVision offered. Once companies started using InVision, they wondered why it wasn't thought of before - such was its convenience, it seemed very obvious. In fact, Adobe had to redesign its product lineup and launch a competitor product to stay in the game.