About the business

DWNLD  was a company that wanted to transform web content in to personalized native apps. The idea was that you can instantly appify any of your content from your phone or desktop. Cutting down massively on development time and making a multichannel experience possible for editorial teams. The app was founded by an industry insider who had worked in publication and saw an opportunity to service it with technology.

the story

In early 2013, my wife Heather Luipold, an accomplished designer in her own right, and I collaborated as Chico & Lui. We were committed to each other and pulling ourselves out of debt. That was our motivation for working together after completing full days of work. We came from humble beings and landed in careers currently in high demand. We weren't going to let that opportunity go to waste.

One of our clients, DWNLD, was introduced to us through our shared network. The company was led by a CEO from a background unrelated to the tech industry and needing more expertise in technical and design applications. She brought a strong network and knowledge of running a publication with little else. She had found our work through one of our websites and was interested in having us set the company's first set of templates—Think inline of Squarespace templates but for apps. The angle was that they would go to publishers, scrap the data, and turn them into fully functional apps that the company could monetize.

In retrospect, it becomes clear that the company's initial misjudgment lay in underestimating the actual demand for standalone publication apps. Instead, it was becoming increasingly apparent that these apps would inevitably need to adapt and integrate with popular social platforms like Instagram, as that's where most of their target audiences resided.

The first time I put this project in my portfolio Man Repeller publisher contacted us to take it down...burned by my experience at R/GA, i've kept a deep resentment for Man Repeller. In a strange twist of fate, I'd take over their small office in Soho five years later.

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