NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Inside, an affordable fashion-forward home furnishings company announces today it has closed on $2.6m in seed funding co-led by Corigin Ventures and Lerer Hippeau. Existing investor Forerunner Ventures, alongside new investors BAM Ventures, and Canaan Ventures are participating. The round also includes a range of entrepreneurs and industry veterans as advisors and investors: Susan Lyne, the former CEO of Martha Stewart; Maxwell Ryan, the founder of Apartment Therapy; Jerry Jao, the founder of Retention Science; Jenny Fleiss, the co-founder of Rent The Runway and JetBlack; and Alexa von Tobel, the founder and CEO of LearnVest.
Co-founded by industry insiders Christiane Lemieux (founder of DwellStudio, sold to Wayfair) and Britt Bunn, The Inside revolutionizes how consumers approach infusing fashion into their homes. The company sells on-trend home furnishings featuring exclusive designer fabrics and patterns of all kinds, offered at affordable prices and the ability to customize combinations. It features a rotating roster of high profile collaborations with fashion designers, artists and more. Pricing starts at under $100 for accessories such as pillows and many furniture options such as chairs and ottomans are under $500. The company is already gaining meaningful traction with the interior designer community.
The company is disrupting the $150B home furnishings market by solving the major pain points consumers feel in traditional furniture shopping. The style and prices reflect direct-to-consumer value, the transaction experience is seamless, and a simple drop ship model replaces expensive and long-lead white glove shipping. The Inside is pioneering "digital design," a radically more efficient process that brings product to market faster than ever before and allows the company to offer customers a broader, bolder range of design -- as well as a before unheard of opportunity for the customer to order a custom combination. All of its imagery is created using VR ready 3D rendering techniques and the company only works with partners who manufacture on-demand within 2-3 weeks, so it carries no inventory, moves fast, can take unconventional design risks.
Everything is made-to-order and available to consumers on the brand's website, shoppers can choose any fabric style on shapes including slipper chairs, headboards, beds, ottomans and removable wallpaper. The company features collaborations with fashion designers, industry insiders and influencers that expand the definition of design and lean into its mantra, #beyondthebeige. This Fall the brand will introduce products from Christene Barberich, the founder of Refinery29, Katherine Carter of the interior design platform Homepolish, Victoria Smith of popular blog SFGirlByBay and Sezane, the French fashion brand.
Co-founder Britt Bunn reflects on the market opportunity. "Almost 70% of Millennials plan to buy a home in the next five years, we already represent 40% of all furniture purchases and we are looking to shop online. But for the most part, the market hasn't kept up with our needs: the high-quality selection, affordability, and seamless purchasing experience we are used to from other online verticals. Even in the Pinterest and Instagram age, we lacked a brand of our own. So The Inside was born. The Inside is the next gen home furnishings brand."
Investor Claire Fauquier of Corigin Ventures states "Investing in The Inside was a no-brainer for us. The furniture market is broken for the millennial – the online shopping experience is clunky and brands aren't innovating to keep up with changing trends – while a huge opportunity exists to build digital-first. When we combined the opportunity with the back-end operating efficiencies and then layered on an operational dream-team in Christiane and Britt, it all added up."
Co-founder Christiane Lemieux states: "I knew there must be a way to deliver the compelling exclusive design and selection we produced at DwellStudio but at the prices and total addressable market we reached at Wayfair. In most marketplaces, the online search algorithm serves up the same beige chair over and over again and underestimates consumer taste. They deserve more. By applying huge advances in technology to the space, The Inside strips out many of the traditional costs associated with the business of home. We deliver value, inspiration and more importantly design to our customer in unprecedented ways."
"If you dreamed up what an ideal venture investment in this space looks like, it would be The Inside," says Caitlin Strandberg, principal at Lerer Hippeau. "With The Inside, we saw an experienced team fueled by unbound vision driving a business model that's proactive about meeting consumer demand for on-trend, affordable, quick-ship home goods. We believe Britt and Christiane are the right team, at the right time, to fill an obvious gap in the market."
The new funding will be used to service new customers, build the team, continue to develop its proprietary visualization technology and expand into new categories. The company recently released removable wallpaper and has plans to launch a sofa program by Q4; in time The Inside looks to infuse pattern and fashion to serve the whole home with bedding, tabletop, decorative accessories and more.
ABOUT THE INSIDE
Fashion your home from The Inside: essential pieces in exclusive, designer patterns at real-world prices and speed. With its fast-moving team of designers to keep you ahead of the trends, an ever-expanding slate of tastemaker collaborations, and a revolutionary low waste, no-middleman digital business model, The Inside makes great design more accessible than ever before.
Christiane Lemieux is the CEO, co-founder and creative force behind The Inside. The Parsons grad launched DwellStudio and sold it to Wayfair, where she was the Executive Creative Director. She wrote the critically acclaimed design books Undecorate and The Finer Things and has hosted "Ellen's Design Challenge" and "Overhaul."
Britt Bunn is the COO and co-founder of The Inside. Her past experiences include working at One Kings Lane and Bain & Company by way of Stanford Business School and Harvard College.
SOURCE The Inside