At Penn State’s fall 2019 Hackathon, HackPSU, Xora’s founders Royce Leon D’Souza and Gregory Costeas teamed up to show Penn Staters what the website of the future would look like.
Within 24 hours, the duo had created a tool that could help tech enthusiasts, developers and project managers create cross-platform augmented reality and virtual reality experiences quickly.
“When you are trying to design and explain a new building, PowerPoint just doesn't cut it,” said Royce Leon D’Souza. “Engineers face a problem; they have to use 2D images like screenshots, and PowerPoint presentations to explain 3D ideas: making it difficult to finalize design decisions. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 3D experience is worth 100,000.”
And just like that, an idea was born.
With support from the TechCelerator team, Greg and Royce were able to focus their startup company on one issue that they cared deeply about: communication. “This is an issue faced by many industries, with construction, infrastructure, manufacturing and architecture facing the most difficulties.”
Xora’s co-founders, both still undergraduates at the time, quickly realized that their idea could be a commercially viable tool and their hunch was confirmed when HackPSU judges noted that the tool could prepare small businesses for the next wave in wearable technology.
After winning third place in the overall HackPSU competition, Greg and Royce went on to apply to Penn State’s 2020 Summer Founders Program, which gave them the advice and support they needed to develop and launch their venture, and further polish their product. However, they faced early challenges after discovering that the tools they were innovating were only able to be used by adept programmers.
Undaunted, the duo went on to enter Ben Franklin’s fall 2020 TechCelerator program, a 10-week ‘bootcamp’ that provides education and mentoring to entrepreneurs and companies, along with a competition for potential investment.
With support from the TechCelerator team, Greg and Royce were able to focus their startup company on one issue that they cared deeply about: communication.
“This is an issue faced by many industries, with construction, infrastructure, manufacturing and architecture facing the most difficulties,” Royce said.
When the 10-week TechCelerator course finished, Xora, along with fellow graduates, presented a graduation pitch to a panel of potential investors and professionals. The pitch night came with an opportunity to win up to $10,000 to help launch the business.
At Pitch Night, the two Xora founders tied for second place, providing the company some added investment, which will help boost Xora to the next level.
TechCelerator@StateCollege director Bob Dornich said, “Working with these men has been an absolute joy. They are wicked smart, but they go slowly with me so I can keep up. I think their product really has legs and is well thought out. The customer discovery they have done helps solidify their strategy moving forward.”
With Ben Franklin’s investment, Xora is on to its next step. Xora is currently beta testing its "DocuSign for 3D models” tools with engineering and architecture firms. The team looks to connect with any firm interested in supercharging its 3D design communication and is currently on the path to accepting 60 firms on its beta list. To learn more, and find out how your company can get involved, visit Xora’s website.