Getting the right look and feel for a room is a very personal decision and often a lengthy one. While on the one hand you want final control how your rooms look you also want to have an expert on hand to give you tips and ideas to make sure it all comes together cohesively. Homee, is an app that puts you in contact with a real interior designer that you can chat with to design your perfect room, placing you as the director of the action while fitting your lifestyle as a busy, tech-savvy person that appreciates thrift and efficiency. Use the app to easily put together your dream room and make purchases in clicks to make what’s on your screen a reality. Unlike most interior designers, Homee also boasts a texting-only option you can use to interact with designers.
Today we sit down with Beatrice Fischel and Madeline Fraser to discuss the company’s latest round of funding as well as how easy it is to design your perfect room.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We just raised $5M in Series A funding in a round led by Founders Fund. They join previous investors including Sean Rad, Ben Silverman, Bill Lee, David Wyler, FF Angel, Foundation Capital, Scooter and Yael Braun, Stephen Oskoui, Dennis Korijn, and Daniel and Michael Broukhim. To date we have raised $7.2M.
Tell us about your product or service.
Homee is a furniture and home design shopping app that uses proprietary technology to help those short on time create a stylish, affordable and personalized space. We connect you directly with in-house design experts via our chatbot feature to simplify the home furnishing process and make it easy to find and buy items for your space that you can actually use and afford.
What inspired you to start the company?
Homee was founded by Beatrice Fischel-Bock, Madeline Fraser, Lizzie Grover, Ben Broca, and Ethan Gromet. Three of us (Beatrice, Madeline and Lizzie) met at college, where we started an online design company called ZOOM Interiors. After working together on ZOOM, we saw that the home furnishing space was missing a mobile component that could fulfill the furnishing needs of millennial consumers at transitional stages in their lives where they have a recurring need to furnish a new space.
How is it different?
We are the first to market with a mobile shopping app that makes it easy for millennials to buy the home furnishings they need. By utilizing a combination of chatbot technology and the expertise of in-house designers, we can quickly and accurately curate furniture recommendations into a personalized design board that reflects your style and budget. You can then shop the look with one click from the app.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Homee is targeting a younger, tech savvy demographic that isn’t interested in interior design, or in paying for it. This demographic cares about having a stylish space – they want to furnish their place, but don’t want to take the time to do it.
The online furniture space alone is a $24.3B industry. We are bridging the gap between overwhelming retail stores and inaccessible designers by merging the power of technology and design expertise in a easy-to-use mobile app.
What’s your business model?
The Homee design service is free. We make money the same way other retailers and ecommerce sites do. By offering a no-risk design service that is backed by our price match guarantee, we’re able to bring more users to the app.
Would you recommend using Homee, instead of an in-person service, even if you need to design a full room?
Our experience with ‘in-person services’ was one of the main reasons we started Homee. After using other services and in going through the home furnishing process ourselves, we found that even when working directly with a designer online or in-person, it still didn’t feel as personal as it could be. It was also extremely time consuming and difficult to align schedules with the designers.
The overall idea of working with an interior decorator is antiquated and intimidating to the millennial consumer. Homee makes quality home furnishing and professional design advice easily accessible to everyone on their phones.
What was the funding process like?
Our recent round of funding was a relatively quick and smooth process as we built trust with our existing investors, Founders Fund. This new round is a follow up to their previous investment as they continue to believe in the success and future of Homee.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
While seeking our seed round in the early stages, we were still selling our idea. We had to find a way to make investors see and understand our vision for the product we wanted to build, and why we were the right team to bring Homee to life.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Aside from the fact that we are disrupting a massive $213B market that has seen little innovation, investors were attracted to the tremendous growth Homee saw during beta, our team, and our cutting-edge concept and product.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Now that we’ve officially launched our app out of beta, we’re excited to get even more people using the app, further build out our offerings and make the user experience even better.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Stay lean and always look forward at the bigger picture. Don’t count on capital to run your business. Watch that bottom line.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We’re looking to expand our team and scale product so we can produce even more tailored designs. We eventually want to own the entire moving and furniture-buying process from A to Z by offering same-day delivery and handling everything from assembly to helping customers arrange the furniture in their space.
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