(Mail Tribune (Medford, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 30--Portland-based Nouvola landed Southern Oregon Angel Investment Network's $215,000 investment prize Wednesday.
Nouvola has developed a system for analyzing and testing large-scale Internet applications before they go public.
"If you are Amazon, Nordstrom or any major retailer, and you think of the holidays -- Black Friday, Cyber Monday -- and there's lots of money flowing through the system, if just for a few seconds your system isn't working, your customer is going to buy from one of your competitors," said Nouvola co-founder Paola Moretto. "You want to be fast, but there is no point in being fast unless you are fast when all the people are there."
Moretto likens Nouvola's capabilities to structural tests before a bridge is put in use.
"Think of a bridge built for 100,000 cars; you would want to test it for structural soundness and robustness before you let all those cars on it," Moretto said. "Why not do that with software? Most of today's applications are tested with five or 10 people, not tested with real-life scenarios. We are not revolutionizing the entire high-tech industry, we're attacking a problem, one of the largest in cloud computing today -- the ability to test applications at the scale they're used."
She alluded to Cover Oregon's failure during her presentation to investors, who heard five-minute pitches at Bigham Knoll Event Center.
"The moment you go live, if you have 100,000 users, and it fails, you're in trouble," she said.
It was the third angel investment award landed by the company in the past six months. Last month, Nouvola claimed the prize from Angel Oregon, following a victory last October at the Bend Venture Conference.
"We're very close to our fundraising goals," Moretto said, citing Securities and Exchange Commission rules for not being specific. "There's kind of an avalanche effect -- the more your raise, the more it adds validation to the business opportunity and the team. People on the fence are more likely to decide to invest."
Moretto is not new to start-ups. She was part of the founding team of Mobilian, a company acquired by Intel in 2003. She was directing Intel's cloud software operations when she left to start Nouvola in 2012. She was part of the Founder's Pad accelerator program in Bend when she heard about the Southern Oregon Angel Investor competition from last year's winner JettStream.
From here, she said, the goal is to accelerate software development, enhance the product with additional features and make it easier to use.
"We want to get better at every step," Moretto said. "We entered Angel Oregon last year and didn't win. What we learned was what investors wanted and the traction points we needed in order to be more attractive to investors."
In four years, the Southern Oregon Angel Investor LLCs have awarded $895,000.
Gro-Volution, spawned by Oregon Technology Institute graduates, will boost the ability of its customers to grow produce more efficiently and year-round. Gro-Volution received $2,500 in cash and $9,500 worth of in-kind services from CFO Solutions in Ashland, which handles financials for start-ups; Pneuma 33 from Bend, a brand and marketing consultant; the Board Room of Grants Pass, which will provide six months' free rent; and Rogue Community College, which will provide a seat in its next six-month course for entrepreneurs at Avista Center for Entrepreneurship.
Eric Wilson, who leads the team, began pursuing ways to enhance livability when he was in the Air Force.
"I started researching eight years ago how I could impact the U.S.," Wilson said. "I wanted to make major changes on road wear and tear, fuel consumption, poor nutrition, health, job creation and support an unstable economy. I tried to find something that would apply to all the troubled areas, and at the center is food."
The target consumer for Gro-Volution ranges from farmers and restaurants to airports and cruise ships, he said. "Anyone using food anywhere where there is food scarcity and unreliable food sources."
-- Greg Stiles
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