Home furnishing is a $10 Bn market and this has even led number of players in this segment in both online and offline space. Startups like UrbanLadder, Fabfurnish, already have their chunk in the market and even have proved that people are now comfortable in buying furniture online. But, still there are a couple of factors which affect the buying behavior of a customer when they click to buy furniture be it online or offline.
People invest a lot in furniture and no doubt getting good quality furniture does affect consumer pocket too. Unlike phones or other electronic goods, in relation to furniture, prices have remained consistent through the years and there are few financing options. Thus, all these factors reflects the buying behavior and the consumer is not able to purchase things which he/she actually wanted and thus. often they are forced to either buy a few pieces of furniture at a time, or buy lower quality furniture than they want to, or then just don’t buy at all. This is where Furlenco comes in, which is solving this problem in a simple way.
Furlenco, founded by Ajith Karimpana, who had previously worked with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, is India’s first rental subscription program for furniture, the startup offers themed furniture experiences on rent which include furniture, soft furnishing and home decor items. The subscription program lets one choose rooms across different ranges and themes that it has developed. It basically allows you to “access” the furniture you want, when you want it, and for as long as you want it, with services in Bangalore only.
After fashion, it seems that the online furniture and home decor is the next niche segment which has now started attracting the VC attention. As this Bangalore-based startup has just raised $6 Mn in a Series A funding round led by LightBox VC.
The Concept & How It Works
Based on the information in received from the customers in regard to the room and the budget they have, Furlenco helps them to choose the relevant furniture and furnishings for their home (or for just a room), delivers it to doorstep and sets it up for you – all within a couple of days.
It designs inhouse and hold its inventory, which is rent out and the customer pays a monthly subscription fee which is how it monetizes.
“We provided internally designed high quality furniture for a price which is highly desirable. Furlenco is the only solution which can help you have a new look for your house every year without having to pay through your nose for it,” tells Ajith.
Subscription allows one to pause the program at any time, relocate, swap furniture experiences (for another), free soft furnishings every year and even free furniture cleaning services.
“Furlenco makes furniture more accessible by offering consumers a monthly subscription service rather than forcing them to purchase it. And it’s targeted to this generation of Indians who we believe are re- defining their relationship with their possessions,” says Siddharth Talwar of LightBox, who is joining the boards of the company with this investment.
Counting The Numbers
The startup offers room or home based packages starting from INR 1,500/month for a bedroom, INR 2,000/month for a dining room or the living room, INR 5,000 for 1BHK, INR 6,000 for 2BHK etc.
Till date, Furlenco has served over 600 houses and has an active subscription base of 200 houses which is growing at a healthy rate of 50% month on month, as per the company.
The startup is aiming to get hold of atleast $3 Bn of the total $10 Bn home furnishing/decor market in the next 3-5 years.
Ajith says, “We are aiming to be the leaders in the shared economy space in India. We believe that conscious collaborative consumption is the right way to go about running businesses.” The funds raised will go in expanding the product range, build technology and invest in the service further.
Previously known as Rent Ur Duniya, Frulenco was founded in 2012, working with the team of 40, it had raised $100k in angel funding. Rentomojo which is founded by IIT Madras graduates, is another startup which is dealing in this space but is following a marketplace approach.
Investments In This Space
- Bangalore-based tech-led home solution startup, HomeLane raised$4.5 Mn in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital.
- Ratan Tata, last year invested undisclosed amount in online furnishing startup UrbanLadder.
- Home design and decor startup LivSpace got INR 29 Cr. in Series A from Helion Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Jungle Ventures.
Also, reports suggests that Fabfurnish is looking to raise $50 Mn in Series D round and Pepperfry is looking to raise $60-$80 Mn.
“I don’t know what the future of consumption is going to look like, but I do know that what Furlenco is doing isn’t a fad. We might not transform our old habits completely, but we will adapt new ones to be right beside them,” Siddharth Talwar adds.
This is LightBox’s second investment of the year, last month it had invested in Pune-based Faaso’s.