Software engineer Polo Valdovinos loves a good story, especially when he’s shopping for his Spanish Mediterranean home in the East Bay. “I like looking at great pieces, but I want to know how and why they were made,” he says. “It’s not enough that something is cute or cool. It’s got to be truly special in its craftsmanship—something that will last.”
As a Bay Area entrepreneur, Valdovinos is looking to capitalize on a way of life. Decurate, an online store he cofounded with interior designer and Mission dweller Jordan Sitkin, is more than a point of sale for local and international designers. Decurate tells the stories about the who behind the artisan what. Since launching in October, Valdovinos and Sitkin have hand-selected limited-edition works from more than 60 burgeoning furniture, fashion, and accessories designers. We love the porcelain animal skulls by Christine Facella of Beetle and Flor. You’ll also find SF’s Dee Adams’ punchy midcentury bird posters, as well as an interview about her art, and work from local chair-maker Justin Godar, who’s set to debut a modern hanging planter on the site this year.
Funding Decurate over the past six months is Start-Up Chile, a government-backed tech incubator. In exchange for a $40,000 grant, Sitkin and Valdovinos built Decurate in Santiago among 22 other startups, many from the Bay Area. “The entrepreneurial drive is there, and Chile is making a big bet bringing in people to make it the next Silicon Valley,” says Valdovinos. “Silicon Valley didn’t happen overnight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if their foreign investment pays off soon.” This spring, the pair returns to SF to grow their platform and feature more designers on their radar.