Infusing home décor with tech

Consumer Tech

ANUJ SRIVASTAVA, RAMAKANT SHARMA AND SHAGUFTA ANURAG, FOUNDERS, LIVSPACE

Getting setup in a new home is no seamless task. The process of finding the right interior designer, identifying a carpenter, buying furniture and making your space livable, can take time and is often a process that ends up being delayed. 

Anuj Srivastava’s experience was no different. His stint with Google, where he was the head of products such as Google Maps, Google Commerce and Google Ads, meant he had to shift his base often. During this process, he met with several hurdles while designing his home – in San Francisco, and later, in London. “Interior décor is a highly fragmented industry and so, sourcing a design that you like from the Internet and implementing the look you desire can be a challenge,” he points out. 

Srivastava realised that the need of the hour was to use e-commerce to create accessibility to designs, that can then be reproduced and scaled with ease. This idea led him to co-found Livspace in 2014. His co-founders are Ramakant Sharma, who serves as director-head of technology and Shagufta Anurag, founder of Space Matrix and chief design evangelist. The trio worked on the technology and content for almost eleven months before formally launching the company as an end-to-end platform for home owners and architects. 

Setting up a platform

Bengaluru-based Livspace houses an interior design team comprising nearly 30 designers, and hosts several designs on its platform that can be customised further. It works on the JIT principle – just-in-time – with no inventory and assures implementation of the design in eight to ten weeks. This has been possible because of the logistics system it has in place for handling the entire process right from the time it receives the order to the time it is implemented at a customer’s home. 

“Customers get designs that reflect current trends and are economical to implement when compared to prices charged by interior designers offline,” believes Srivastava. Livspace’s greatest strength is the fact that it has the technology, a large selection of looks and the supply chain management to deliver on the promise. The technology is founded on an engine whereby the rules of interior design are built in and enable creating and validating looks. 

Currently present in Bengaluru, Livspace’s website sees 12,000 visitors on a daily basis and social discovery is the largest marketing medium for the company. Recently, it also launched a mobile app and gets 40 per cent to 45 per cent of its traffic from there. In terms of the value of each order, the range lies between Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 35 lakh, depending on the size of the order and the neighbourhood. Content being its greatest draw, Srivastava says that its cost of customer acquisition is very low. He also believes that the global market is a US$ 25 billion to US$ 30 billion market, dominated by individual designers and divided between the home design and catalogue business. “We believe we’re unique in our approach; We’re probably one of the few companies in the business of home design that is involved across three levels – design, sourcing of products and implementation – in one simple flow,” states Srivastava.  

Moving forward

The company’s team strength has gone up from 15 to 165 in eight months.

Livspace has also acquired two established names in home décor, DezignUp and Dwll.in to strengthen its position as the market innovator in creating content and community driven e-commerce for the home design and décor space. 

It raised US $8 million in August this year from Helion Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Jungle Ventures, within months of a Series-A round of US $4.6 million in Dec 2014. The first round saw investments from prominent angels, including Gokul Rajaram, who recently joined the team as a special advisor. Livspace will utilise the funds to expand across metropolitans in India, enhance design content and technology, hire senior level talent across verticals and build innovative mobile and designer oriented products. 

It has also been present in a couple of cities on stealth mode and will strengthen its presence there first. Wherever it goes, it will have an office as it needs a local project manager to coordinate the effort and establish a logistics centre. The company aims to be present in 25 metro cities beyond which it will go exclusively online to cities where most orders are product-based rather than design-based. 

Livspace also plans to scale up globally into South East Asia, the U.S and the U.K. 

The company will continue to make its supply chain management predictable and focus on delivering excellence to the customer, as referrals will form a large part of its marketing. In three years, it aims to become the top home design brand worldwide and definitely so in India. One of the bigger ambitions is to be recognised as a compelling design service brand from India.


Did you know?

Livspace works on a JIT principle – Just-in-Time – with no inventory, but assures implementation of the design in eight to ten weeks. 


 

Snapshot 

Venture: Livspace 

Founders: Anuj Srivastava, Ramakant Sharma, Shagufta Anurag 

Founded in: 2014 

Funded by: Helion Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Jungle Ventures and angels 

Focus by: Curated home design and décor service provider 

Caption: Anuj Srivastava, Ramakant Sharma, Shagufta Anurag, co-founders, Livspace


 

CURATING HOME DÉCOR 

Home owners experience angst even after buying their dream homes as they struggle to achieve the right look. They rely heavily on local interior decorators, who may or may not be able to get the kind of design the owners are looking for. Implementation too can take its own time due to logistical delays. This is true not only of India. Anuj Srivastava, who held senior positions in Google, experienced this while setting up house in San Francisco and then, in London. With Ramakant Sharma, a technology expert and Shagufta Anurag, a designer with vast experience, he founded Livspace in Bengaluru as a curated décor site from where people could order the designs they liked and work with Livspace interior designers to have it tweaked to suit their needs. The most critical innovation is the introduction of predictability in the supply chain through deep catalogue integration that covers everything, right from design to supply and implementation.

Meera Srikant has been working with publishers and publications since 1993, writing and editing articles, features and stories across topics. She also blogs and writes poems, novels and short stories during leisure. Writing for The Smart CEO since 2010, she is also a classical dancer.

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