Aside from shining a light on some of Europe's finest bootstrapped technology companies, we've also started featuring relatively unknown but interesting European tech startups on a weekly basis.
In a conversation with co-founder and CEO Viktor Nordstrom (who is originally from Sweden), our aim was to learn more about CL3VER, which essentially helps creative professionals build interactive 3D presentations using a cloud-based tool.
tech.eu: How could you best describe CL3VER and what you're trying to achieve in just a few lines?
Viktor Nordstrom: CL3VER is a cloud-based platform that allows architects, engineers, manufacturers and design experts to create interactive 3D presentations using existing 3D models to engage clients and prospects throughout the complete sales and marketing cycle on any device.
CL3VER aims to be the leading authoring and publishing platform for interactive 3D content available on any device, online and offline.
What's the killer feature / magic sauce i.e. the one thing that differentiates you the most from your competitors in your space, in your view?
CL3VER has two key characteristics that differentiate it from competitors: content distribution, and accessibility.
The CL3VER proprietary 3D engine is a mix of a cloud-based service and the use of HTML5 and WebGL technology, that together turn 3D into Web-native content that can be accessed, distributed and visualized anytime, anywhere and on any device using any Web browser without the need of a third-party plugin.
Flexibility, scalability and Integration CL3VER 3D presentations work for projects of all different sizes, from a small product presentation to a city plan. These presentations support multimedia files such as images and videos and they allow the integration with any 3rd party service.
Where and how did the idea for an interactive 3D authoring and publishing platform come about
It came out of our frustration of not finding a solution that could meet our criterias of cost, ease of use and time to market, when working on a 3D UI in our professional lives.
How did you meet your co-founder(s) and what were you up to before starting CL3VER?
How much funding have you raised, and do you have any plans to raise more? If you've bootstrapped the business so far, would you like to keep doing that or was that out of necessity?
CL3VER raised a seed funding of USD $800,000 from Wayra, the incubator startup of Telefonica, Caixa Capital Risc, 101 StartUp and other private investors. We are looking for a Series A investment and we are already evaluating some proposals.
What is your business model - or your future plans to monetise if you haven't yet settled on one? Has your thinking on business model evolved a lot since the start of the company?
The CL3VER platform is licensed per project, meaning that users pay a yearly fee for any projects he or she decides to share with the team, the client or publishes on a website.
The licence is not related to seats/computes like traditional software, with CL3VER there is no limitation to the number of users that can collaborate on the same project. The business model evolved together with the market strategy and segmentation to better meet the needs of target clients that today are architects, engineers, constructors and manufacturers whose direct revenues are based on projects.
What's CL3VER's plan for the next 3 to 6 months? (expansion, adding markets/languages, new features?) And what do you hope to have achieved in 12 to 18 months?
First of all we will be releasing a new version of the product called CL3VER 3.0. The new version introduces a new proprietary automatic real-time lightmap rendering solution that drastically reduces the rendering time required by traditional visualization techniques from several hours to just minutes.
By leveraging the performance of today’s GPUs within the artists workstations and laptops, CL3VER is able to dramatically improve the real-time lightmap rendering workflow.
The following 6 to 9 months will be focused on continuing our strong growth in the AEC, and the release of specific updates targeting the Product design and Manufacturing markets.
What are your thoughts on Barcelona's startup ecosystem (funding landscape, government support, cost of living/starting up, etc)?
Barcelona is a great place to initiate your venture since it is a natural hub for incredible talent, and you get a lot of support from local and state government.
However, investors are in the majority not very experienced and have a tendency to be overcautious. Also there is a strong tendency to do “me-too ́s”- copying a startup from another company in a new market. I ́m sure it is great from the financial point, but I'm not convinced that this strategy drives innovation.
What are your thoughts on the European startup ecosystem(s) as a whole?
It is hard to generalise, but I still see the UK, Germany and Scandinavia as leaders from an investment standpoint. From a pure “technical talent” standpoint, Bulgaria, Hungary, Ukraine & Belarus are leaders in certain fields.
Which decision have you made in your professional life that has had a negative impact on your personal life? Provided you've found a fix for it, how have you handled that?
Settling for a high-paying job that actually bored me and where my colleagues had a much lower level of ambition than myself had a very negative impact on my personal life. It affected all my relationships with friends and family and ultimately affected my physical health.
The lesson I learned was that taking decisions based on fear, is always wrong.
Do you allow people to bring pets to the office? Why (not)?
It has never come up. It would have to do with providing the adequate space for the pet, and things like allergies etc.
If you could live and do your startup from anywhere else in Europe, which place would you pick and why?
London or Stockholm, due to the access to seasoned VC capital.