Breaking News
More () »

Portland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Portland, Oregon | KGW.com

THE BUILDERS: For Portland tech startup CEO, her success hasn’t come easy

Monica Enand, founder and CEO of Portland startup Zapproved, says she had to overcome fear and doubt to build a successful business.

Pat Dooris

Play Video

Close Video

High up on the side wall of a tall building on Northrup Street in Northwest Portland, the word Zapproved stands out in silver letters.

It's clearly visible from the Fremont bridge and to the tens of thousands of drivers who cross the bridge into downtown Portland each day.

The name and the company it represents are the creations of Monica Enand, Zapproved's founder and CEO.

"When we first moved in, we had plenty of extra space," Enand said, leading visitors through a cramped hallway.

Walk with her through the modern office and you’ll find the trappings of a fun and growing tech company, complete with a large gong in the company's spacious meeting and training area which is struck every time a sale is closed.

Credit: Pat Dooris, KGW
Monica Enand, founder and CEO of Portland company Zapproved.

The company is booming with 150 employees and more than 400 customers.

It's privately held, owned by a private equity company called Vista Equity Partners. Inc. 5000 reported the company's 2017 revenues at $12.4 million dollars.

But it was not always this way.

In fact, shortly after the company’s launch, it seemed possible that Zapproved would die in its infancy.

"There are moments where it's very unclear why you are doing what you are doing. Because the odds are really against you," Enand said.

Zapproved started as a software company that created check-off approval lists for projects. Companies with far-flung offices or lots of people involved in a project could make sure everyone approved. That's where the name comes from - 'Z' and then "approved."

Credit: Pat Dooris, KGW
Portland company Zapproved started as a software company that created checkoff approval lists for projects, but shifted to software that helps legal teams gather digital documents as they prepare for trial.

Enand agreed to talk with KGW News to share her lessons from the journey to the C-suite, including this important question.

"Can you get comfortable feeling dumb? It's one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. Because it lets you live in these uncomfortable places and that's where the growth happens," she said.

She's made that a lifelong strength.