Launch: Startups, Tips and Where They Are Now


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 Furniture Flip

Company: Space View
Product: Interior design software
Founder: Miloš Jovanović

One of the challenges facing design/build professionals is that many laypeople don’t understand architecture drawings. “The problem is visualization: trying to explain to clients what the design will look like after it’s done,” says Portlander Miloš Jovanović, a former architect turned entrepreneur. Creating 3-D models is also expensive and time consuming.

So a couple of years ago, Jovanović set out to create a software tool, SpaceView, to help clients visualize spaces online. The app lets salespeople and interior designers take pictures of a room and then place 3-D images — selected from a product library — in the space to see how they will look.

SpaceView targets business professionals, not the end consumer. “These people aren’t shopping for couches,” Jovanovic´ says. “We are focusing on enabling professionals that sell physical products.”

SpaceView won $240,000 in the 2015 Angel Oregon Showcase. A seed round brought in another $200,000. The five-person team — three on the technical side and a VP of sales — is focused on three verticals: real estate, retail and digital display. The startup recently landed Hillsboro-based Planar as a customer and is pursuing a licensed sales tool that would allow users to place custom 3-D models of their products into a photo instantly.

Jovanović says he is most excited about the possibility of democratizing the design process. “Before, to do a 3-D visualization, you needed to go to school. This enables anybody with a mobile device to do that on your own.”

Startup tip

“Finding the ‘right’ executive team is one of the most challenging things a founder can do, and the most frustrating. It’s a lot like playing Blackjack – with discipline you can reduce your odds of failure, but you’ll never reduce that risk completely, even if you think you’ve been dealt a winning hand.

You can keep your batting average as high as possible by following three basic rules: 1. Never be afraid to hire somebody smarter than you. 2. Find people with the courage to express their opinions intelligently and respectfully. 3. Hire people with high goals and standards, and who are the first ones to tell you they aren’t hitting them.

Stick to these rules and you’ll make good hires. They won’t all work out. You won’t be dealt 21 every hand. But you’ll be successful enough to easily survive the failures – and keep pushing toward success.”

Terry St. Marie, Consultant, entrepreneur and startup investor

Where they are now

BuddyUp in print


A mobile app that conects students seeking study partners

Since we profiled BuddyUp in our September 2014 issue, the company has expanded to more than 30 colleges and universities, including schools abroad like the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. The six-person team is an anchor tenant in PSU’s Business Accelerator and placed No. 2 in the 2015 Angel Oregon competition. “I’ve learned about every aspect of leading a successful venture — fundraising, sales, product development, hiring and even some M&A conversations,” says CEO Brian Forrester. “The most important component of our success has been having mentors and advisors who really have our back. Without them, we wouldn’t have made it this far.”