Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Torontonians who are shaking up the tech sector

Luciano D’Angelo founded Model Living, a furniture subscription service that lets users rent high-end home decor

Company HQ: Queen and Spadina
Founded: 2018
Employees: 5

How it works: “Model Living users rent furniture like they do apartments. They can pick out items on our website for any room in their house and keep them for as long as they need. We deliver and assemble everything for free to spare any IKEA-like headaches.”

Eureka moment: “Over the past four years, I’ve bounced around between Canada, Italy and the U.S. Every time I move, it’s the same story: I schlep down to IKEA, pay for stuff I don’t really like and spend hours putting it together. Then a few months later, I try to sell it all. I figured I wasn’t the only person who could benefit from a short-term solution.”

How much you spent initially: “My co-founder and I pooled our savings—about $50,000—to get a website up and running and secure partnerships with retailers. Our next step will be to launch our own line of exclusive furniture designs.”

Your turning point: “We took the idea for a test run on Facebook Marketplace. Within a few hours, we got a ton of positive responses and even ended up buying and setting up an entire living room for a woman living downtown.”

Your big-time backers: “We’ve funded the entire project ourselves up to this point.”

Tech Jargon you use too much: “I’m always telling people to 10x everything. It’s part of the hustle.”

The best advice you’ve received: “The CEO at the last start-up I worked at used to say, ‘Delight your customers and always pay excessive attention to them.’ That’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since.”

The worst advice you’ve received: “A lot of people told me no one would want to rent furniture and that I shouldn’t even bother with the idea.”

Your tech role model: “It’s a bit of a cliché, but Steve Jobs. I really admire the way he was able to blend art and science into his products.”

Your go-to office attire: “A black hoodie, jeans and Nike Air Max.”

Coolest thing in your office: “We work out of the Soho Innovation Lab on Queen West and there’s a podcast room. We don’t actually make podcasts (yet), but it’s good for some quiet time.”

App you can’t live without: “Audible. I love audio books.”

Past life: “I used to do marketing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

If you weren’t running a start-up: “I’d work in the film industry.”