Made.com secures £2.5m for designer furniture venture
Backers for furniture site that “cuts out the middle man” include Brent Hoberman’s PROfounders fund
A group of high-profile investors including Brent Hoberman’s PROfounders Capital fund has backed a designer furniture company that aims to “cut out the middle man” with £2.5m of funding.
Made.com, which allows web users to buy bespoke or designer furniture directly from the manufacturers, invites users to vote on their favourite designs, with the most popular going into production. Those who voted then have the opportunity to buy at a discounted price.
Other backers for the venture include Marc Simoncini, founder of dating group Meetic, which owns the European operations of Match.com, and serial entrepreneur John Hunt.
Made.com founder Ning Li, who sold a Paris-based firm with a similar business model last year, believes that the site can more than halve the price of contemporary furniture by cutting out the wholesaler and the retailer.
He said: “There are still a lot of inefficiencies in the furniture retail industry. It is very common to see a piece of furniture being sold for six to ten times its factory price.
“The internet helps us provide total transparency and strip out the middlemen. Our ambition is to bring appealing design to as many people as possible, revolutionising how furniture is sold and how you buy it.”
Hoberman, most famous for co-founding Lastminute.com alongside Martha Lane Fox, dubbed the business model behind the site ‘metailing’.
“Consumers are in control, influencing which designs make it into production and with a more direct connection to the factory,” he said.
Rogan Angelini-Hurll, PROfounders general partner, added: “This investment ticks all of our boxes. It has an outstanding and experienced entrepreneur and a business model that is proven, using the internet to disrupt an inefficient supply chain by taking out the layers that add cost but no value for the consumer.”