Urban Ladder COO Srivatsa sees online furniture market growing 5-fold in 2 years

Urban Ladder, the online furniture vendor, has raised Rs 120 crore from a consortium of investors led by Hong Kong-based Steadview Capital. Incumbent investors SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital also participated in the fundraising round. The online firm was launched in July 2012 by IIT and IIM graduates Ashish Goel and Rajeev Srivatsa and provides furniture solutions in seven Indian cities..

Firstbizcaught up with COO and Co-Founder Rajiv Srivatsa to find out the company's future plans and services it hopes will give it a leg-up over the competition.


What are your expansion plans?

We are present in eight cities and now plan to expand to 25 more. We will set up services and delivery centres across all these cities in a few months. We are working aggressively to provide world class digital solutions for furniture shopping and are looking for people who can work with us to innovate on this front. For talent in the design section, we are looking for people across Europe and Asia since there is a lot of fantastic talent there.

What is the status of the online furniture industry? Is there space for more players?

The online furniture market will see huge growth in the coming years. The market size in India is at Rs 200 crore at present and is expected to grow five times to Rs 1,000 crore by 2016.

What are the fastest growing categories for you? Any statistics that took you by surprise?

Categories such as coffee tables, bookshelves and shelves in general have been bestsellers since our launch. One category which has shown immense growth and is becoming popular in terms of sales is sofas. Though it is a high ticket item and people believe touch-and-feel is crucial, our sofas are doing well probably because of the innovative solutions we offer to our customers. The touch-and-feel problem is addressed with the 'Sofa Trial Room' - a service offered to potential sofa buyers who can choose to try our sofas in the comfort of their homes.

We have also addressed the payments problem attached with sofas by partnering with personal loans provider Bajaj Finserv, to provide instant loans online to our customers. Currently, this feature is available only for products worth Rs 50,000 or more.

How many orders do you get in a day and what is the average value?

We do 100-200 transactions per day, and the average ticket size is close to Rs 20,000. In terms of revenues, we have been seeing 4-5x growth year on year, and we hope to continue it for the next few years.

What are your growth projections for FY15? Have you broken even?

At present, we are focusing on growth rate instead of focusing on achieving break-even or profitability. Also, the online furniture market is still at a nascent stage and requires heavy investments for overall growth.

What is UL Labs, complete room solutions, wardrobe configurator that Urban Ladder plans to roll out this year?

UL Labs is our collaborative outreach effort where internal teams from Urban Ladder work with hi-tech or digital start-ups across the world to come up with pioneering solutions in various aspects of furniture buying.

The wardrobe configurator is the first app launched with this initiative. Our wardrobe configurator -Urban Storage - is one such step to solve a customer pain point with the use of technology. The app helps customers visualise and customise different kinds of combinations of wardrobes for their home on their fingertips. This is the first and most comprehensive app built by any furniture company globally to address wardrobe shopping specifically. The user can configure different colours and finishes of a wardrobe, explore several internal configurations and dimensions, and check pricing relevant to their configuration with this app. Complete room solutions is another such project in the works, with which we will be able to provide recommendations to set full rooms according to the customer's preferences, with the use of technology.

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Updated Date: Jul 26, 2014 13:21:26 IST