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Entrepreneur: Anand Agarawala, 27
Funding: $1.65 million in government grants and from investors, including Andy Hertzfeld, a key designer of Macintosh software.
Developed as part of Agarawala's master's thesis at the University of Toronto, BumpTop turns your typical Windows desktop into a whimsical 3D room. You can stick Post-it notes on the walls and compile photos, Web sites, such as Facebook, and documents into piles, as you would on a physical desk. The first version, launched Apr. 8, has been downloaded more than 300,000 times. The company is in talks with PC makers to bundle the software in new computers.
Lessons learned: "The key thing is, stay as lean as possible," says Chief Executive Agarawala. "We don't have fancy espresso machines or offer massage in the office. But we do have a team that's motivated. Every full-time employee should have a meaningful stake in the company."