According to a report published by TechSci Research, “India Furniture Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2019”, India’s furniture market is projected to cross $32 billion by 2019. The country’s furniture market is expected to grow at a rapid pace and is expected to witness fastest growth over the coming years, followed by office and institutional segments. One such startup Cityfurnish is also trying to tap this opportunity, by catering to the on demand rental industry in India.
Founded in September 2015 by Neerav Jain, Gurgaon based Cityfurnish is an on demand rental platform for renting furniture, furnishing and appliances. The startup provides a range of furniture and furnishing that includes sofa sets, beds, dining tables, and more. It helps consumers by fulfilling their temporary furnishing needs, be it home or office by offering wooden furniture and branded appliances.
Whats problems is it solving?
Talking about their initial days, Neerav told iamwire, “The idea of Cityfurnish originated way back when I was studying in Delhi University and had to move furniture to Delhi and shift back after my graduation. We started working on Cityfurnish in September 2015 and by September end we were live in the market doing 50+ rentals.”
The startup aims to relieve the consumer from the pain of moving furniture and buying furniture for temporary and short-term requirement. The startup said, “By offering premium solid sheesham furniture, we are making customers attracted towards our furniture and crossing the mentality of cheap furniture rented usually. We are fulfilling residential and commercial office needs at affordable rental with flexible rental tenure.”
Currently,the company is operating from Gurgaon and covering only Delhi and NCR region.
About the Founder
Neerav is born and brought up in the furniture industry with his family business sharing the same roots. Neerav did his graduation from KMC, Delhi University and went on to learn Business Innovation and Lean Start-up approach at Utrecht University. Earlier Neerav had worked with Pepperfry as an Export Intern and his family firm Chandra Shekhar Exports, but the bug of entrepreneurship moved him to Gurgaon to start Cityfurnish.
Funding and monetisation model
The startup has raised an undisclosed amount of seed fund from Citrus Pay’s Co-Founder Jitendra Gupta. The company will utilize this funding for strengthening the team, improving product management and order fulfilment.
The company is also in talks with more investors for the next round.
Speaking on the monetisation model, Neerav told, “We work transparently by charging variable monthly rental according to rental tenure. A customer has to pay a booking amount upfront and monthly payment can be made by cash/cheque or card. We would be starting auto debit facility soon to ease the payment process too.”
Competitors and differentiation factor
Cityfurnish has competitors in both online and offline segment with offline market being unorganized and scattered, online competitors would include Furlenco, Rentongo, Rentomojo etc.
Commenting on their what differentiates Cityfurnish, Neerav explained, “The main difference between us and the competitors in the market would be the approach towards shared economy. Our focus it to provide superior service and products with complete furniture range in Solid Sheesham Wood and make the customer experience overwhelming. A fine balance between inventory and marketplace model would be the key to succeed in the shared economy.”
Present status and future plans
As per Neerav, the startup has already furnished 175 properties and in January 2016, it plans to furnish 200 more properties. Cityfurnish has aggressive expansion plans and about to launch in Bangalore market as well in first week of January, Pune, Mumbai, and Hyderabad will follow soon.
The company claims that it is growing 70-80% month on month and has made more than 10 partnerships with Industry partners like OYO and Grabhouse. It is also targeting startups through special office furnishing offers.
Challenges faced by the startup
Challenges varies from hiring team members to obtaining license to operate in a new city. The biggest challenge was to developing a tech enabled model to optimise product management and deployment based on minimum unit costing. “Through some guided insights by our mentors and trial and error approach we have developed our backend model and are continuously updating it for further optimisation”, says Neerav.
According to PWC, the shared economy in India is valued at $15 billion with future projections of $335 billion by 2030. The market opportunity is vast, it is only a matter of execution to gain a lead in this segment.