By Chris Pom

There are ways to screen every kind of product or service before you buy it. Companies offer ratings, reviews, test periods and other ways to make sure results live up to expectations.

However, the options dry up when the purchase in question is a house. That’s ironic, since it is the largest purchase the average person will make in his or her lifetime. Doorjam, a Madison-based company, is looking to change that with its GoTour service.

“GoTour provides a one-stop shop for anyone looking for anything dealing with a property,” said Paul Cardis, president of Doorjam and Avid Ratings Co., its parent company. The goal behind the GoTour service is to provide a three-part, comprehensive preview of a property all accessed through the customer’s computer.

The first component is the high-definition, interactive and panographic tour of the property. After detecting available bandwidth for the best image quality, GoTour launches into a fully-narrated walkthrough of the selected property. The user can select rooms independently or follow a pre-determined path and experience a tour filmed with Hollywood techniques and video quality that Cardis said some have called “stunning.”

Next is the ability to examine each possible feature of a room independently. As the tour proceeds through a given room, an option at the bottom of the screen allows the user to see a list of all the features in the room, such as faucets and cabinets. These can be clicked on independently to show a list of options for each feature, with each option offering specific details.

Finally, GoTour draws on the largest database of customer satisfaction surveys in North America to provide reviews on each feature available in a property. A company could view a GoTour of a hospital, Cardis explained, and view details and reviews on any of the machines.

Cardis believes this “convergence with visuals, metadata and previous customer opinion” will change the way homes are bought and sold. So far, he might be right. Doorjam is among the fastest-growing home virtualization companies operating today, Cardis said.

Despite the success of Doorjam and GoTour there are still challenges for the company to overcome, and the primary obstacle is obtaining funding.

“This summer we unfortunately had to stop selling the product despite the demand because conventional banks would not invest,” Cardis said. When the company secures additional funding, Cardis plans to expand Doorjam’s sales and marketing reach with the goal of creating the leading business property marketing tool in the country.

Doorjam hopes the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium can be an avenue for their funding. As one of 26 companies selected for the main presentation track at the conference, Doorjam will make a seven-minute presentation to Wisconsin Angel Network investors and participate in a number of other investor-based networking opportunities.

In addition to the pitch, the selected companies will participate in networking receptions, an exhibit area where investors may speak directly to presenting companies, and distribute an executive summary published in the investor-only program. Taking place Nov. 13-14, the conference allows regional and local companies such as Doorjam the chance to showcase their success and potential.

Cardis is already eager to grow Doorjam within the community and hopes to create an industry leader based in Madison. “We’re excited to provide opportunities,” he said. “We’re in hiring mode.”

Pom is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.