Paola Moretto, co-founder and CEO of Nouvola, is in a very different place than she was 12 months ago. Last year, Nouvola’s scalable performance testing suite, which allows companies to prepare for scaling before deploying their applications, had not yet been launched. When Paola applied to OEN’s Angel Oregon Spring 2013 Program, she didn’t make it past the first round.
This year, Nouvola clinched first place in OEN’s Angel Oregon Spring 2014 Investment Program, walking away with a check for over $256,000. That was after winning first place at the 2013 Bend Venture Conference, where Nouvola also raised a cool quarter-million.
The win is a testament to the team’s hard work and persistence, but also to how far and quickly a founder can progress when she is an active member of Oregon’s entrepreneurial community. Paola says she is “the poster child for the strength of the ecosystem in Portland, and the wealth of resources that exist to support early-stage startups and entrepreneurs.”
We took a minute to chat with Paola about Nouvola’s growth over the past year and her own growth as an early-stage entrepreneur.
As an entrepreneur, you hear so many no’s, after a while you get used to it. I call it rejection therapy.” (Tweet this.)
How has your company grown in the last year?
It’s grown a lot, and we’ve also grown as founders. Sometimes when we look back just a year ago, we realize just how much we’ve learned and grown. This is all about who’s the fastest learner. That’s how startups thrive. The ability to learn and internalize really fast—that’s a key asset and key skill for founders.
Last summer we rebranded and participated in FoundersPad. Then we launched in September. We’ve grown our customer base tremendously, we’ve gotten funding, we’ve strengthened our team and surrounded ourselves with incredible talent. We’ve gotten much better at telling the story. We’ve really nailed down the problem statement, and refined and enhanced the solution that we bring to the table and the value we bring to our customers.
How have you taken advantage of Portland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem?
We leveraged all the resources that exist. The idea was born at Portland Startup Weekend, though I didn’t get voted. My first pitch ever was at an OEN PubTalk back in June 2012. At the time we were still called Cloudy Days and we weren’t a company yet.
OTBC was extremely helpful in the beginning. Little by little, you get connected to entrepreneurs, you get connected to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
I also started surrounding myself with experienced entrepreneurs, industry leaders, in the very early days. I built relationships that take a while to build, but a year and half down the road, they prove extremely valuable.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who didn’t advance in this year’s Angel Oregon Program?
It’s all about persistence. It’s about persistence and making progress day in and day out. As they often say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
It’s not easy to get rejected. As an entrepreneur, you hear so many no’s, after a while you get used to it. I call it ‘rejection therapy.’ Obviously it’s a competitive environment—some companies are deemed more suitable for investment than yours. It’s important to pay attention to the concerns investors have in relation to your company and what you can do to address these concerns. It all goes back to execution.
What’s next for you and for Nouvola? What support/resources do you still need?
As for what’s next, Angel Oregon will help make it possible for us to execute and get the traction that makes us viable for institutional money.
As for what we still need, we are well-positioned in the Portland/Oregon ecosystem, but we don’t have a lot of validation in the Bay Area ecosystem. This applies to many Oregon startups. There’s still a perception out there that Oregon is ‘the boonies’. It would be great if there was a way to provide more support to Oregon startups in that regard.
Video produced by Spykermedia.