Melbourne software startup Programa has raised $2 million in a seed round.
The raise was co-led by Sydney VCs Equity Venture Partners (EVP) and Investible.
Programa’s cloud-based software converts tasks that might take designers two days to complete into jobs that take just minutes, bringing interior designers and architects out of the spreadsheet age and into the cloud era. Its marketplace brings together designers and brands in an integrated platform to help them manage their projects, workflow, products and purchasing.
The startup launched the peak of Melbourne’s lockdown in July 2020, and now has more than 2,000 registered interior designers and more than 350 registered brands and suppliers.
Co-founder & CEO Traviss Orr said designers often tell them that after years at university they didn’t want to spend most of their time using Microsoft Excel, searching Google and chasing quotes.
“We’ve developed a solution that brings efficiency and simplicity to the industry by integrating everything they need to run their design business into a single platform. That means less time spent on data entry and more time designing and delivering profitable projects,” he said.
“The problem we’re solving isn’t limited to Australia. The global industry is no different so we’re working hard to build solutions for the local industry ahead of international markets,” he continued.
Having previously owned Denfair, Australia’s largest interior design trade show, co-founder Claudio Oyarce says the team saw a significant opportunity to make it easier for design brands to service high-value clients.
“A designer might select hundreds of products from dozens of suppliers for a single project – all with different lead times, quoting platforms, delivery schedules and information they need to enter manually,” he said.
“With sales from professional designers representing more than 50% to 70% of an industry supplier’s annual sales revenue, we want to make it easier for them to find, organise and purchase their products and manage their orders, quotes, deliveries, clients and inventory. It’s a win-win that saves everyone in the industry valuable time and money.”
EVP investment manager Mark Velik said that during his conversations with designers, it was clear that Programa addresses a significant, painful administrative burden.
“With Programa, designers are now able to focus their energy on actual creative design work,” he said.
“The rapid early uptake of thousands of designers and hundreds of brands validated the opportunity for Programa in an industry responsible for several billions dollars in annual spend.”