KLP Resident: Modlar
What they do: Provide specifiers with instant access to free 3D BIM objects for their projects helping to create smart, efficient designs.
Point of difference: Only company globally that can integrate and manufacture into all of the main platforms used by architects.
Company HQ: KLP in SOMA with offices in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Scott Barrington: CEO & Founder
Started his career in architecture, which lead him to the idea for Modlar
Top three apps: Uber, Google Maps, Hipchat
Coffee fix near the KLP office: Elite Audio Coffee Bar
Favourite SF Nabe: Hayes Valley (Check out the outdoor beer garden, Biergarten)
Tell us briefly what Modlar does?
We provide an online marketing solution to help manufacturers to sell more products and we achieve that by putting their products directly into 3D software. Manufacturers pay for the technology as it helps them increase sales and users, which are mostly architects, can access the designs for free.
Who are your clients? What do they like about Modlar compared to the competitors?
Modlar is the only company to provide 3D software in 6 formats. That means that all architects can use our site, regardless of whichever 3D software they are using which is a huge advantage for our clients as that means they can capture 100% of the market.
What are the advantages or challenges of working in the US market?
The market is just bigger and moves considerably faster, a lot of people don’t consider how small New Zealand’s market is, California as a market is bigger than Australia and NZ combined. It gives us room to grow but also is so diverse which is a challenge.
As a result of globalization a lot of sales and marketing is done digitally whereas back home it’s more about pounding the pavement. You can be working very closely with someone in New York but never have to travel the distance, technology allows us to reach all margins of the world from here in San Francisco.
Before coming to SF did you consider other options for residency? Why did you choose KLP?
I read a lot about KLP, it seemed like the best option from my position, there are two main reasons we choose this path.
1. It’s a cost effective space
2. But most importantly the ability to talk and network with other startup companies. This proved really helpful for the whole setup in SF, how to get a VISA, how to hire people, how to do payroll, how to manage tax and how to set up a phone system, we all had the same problems.
What advice or insights have you gained from being here in SF that could be useful to tech companies and entrepreneurs in NZ?
Just get on a plane and get over here, then segment your market.
We should have come here from day one, the things we learnt about selling our product in NZ didn’t even translate here. The culture, the business deals and the spending habits are all on a different level in comparison to the NZ market.
Is it still worth building your business in NZ to start with?
Yes because we did learn a lot about our product. The problems in NZ are the same in the US but many Kiwis focus on building the product rather than understanding the market and their customers, which is a totally different problem.
We spent a lot of time in NZ getting clients and you come here and its like you’re starting fresh, they just don’t care about the NZ market or any of the big clients you may have in NZ.
Was it tough getting the initial clients in the US?
Yes but with a startup its about validating certain steps to prove your company is potentially massively scalable. We didn’t just dive in, we tested it, and once we ticked all these boxes we started to get funding and clients.
- Does the product built in NZ meet a market need in the US
- Can we successfully acquire a brand name customer
- Will they pay a decent amount to eventually make profits
- How many clients exist in the market and how concentrated is it
Investors are more comfortable in me and essentially the company because we ticked all the boxes. If you can do that suddenly you look like a pack of rock stars compared to the rest of the pitches in this city.