[YS Exclusive] Livspace plans to expand markets in Australia, GCC and APAC by 2022

Earlier this month, Living space, the interior design startup, has announced that it will open more than 150 experience stores over the next 18 months. He said he would invest $ 50 million in 80 markets – 60 new market entries in India and 20 cities in Asia-Pacific.

Livspace currently serves Singapore as well as thirteen cities in India – Bengaluru, Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Kochi, Jaipur and Chennai.

The company has raised more than $ 200 million in capital from some of the world’s largest investors including Ingka Ventures (IKEA), TPG Growth, Goldman Sachs, Kharis Capital, Venturi Partners, FFP (Peugeot Group’s Holding Company), EDBI, Bessemer Venture Partners, Jungle Ventures, Helion Ventures and UC-RNT .

In an exclusive conversation with YourStory, co-founder Ramakant Sharma talks about the company’s plans to expand into APAC, GCC and Australia by 2022.

Ramakant Sharma, Co-founder and COO, Livspace

Edited excerpts from the interaction:

YourStory (YS): Tell us about global expansion plans and your Singapore office. What regions are you looking at and why?

Ramakant Sharma (RK): We are aggressively expanding our business in India while planning to strategically expand our presence around the world.

We launched in Singapore in 2019 and became the market leader within 15 months of launch. Our business in Singapore is growing significantly at 10% per month, which represents approximately 20% of our overall business.

With Singapore as the seat of our global expansion, we are exploring new markets in APAC, GCC and Australia in 2022.

YS: Which markets are you interested in immediately and how do you plan to penetrate deeper into them?

RK: We have built an innovative technology platform and business model that allows us to launch any home related offering in any geographic area and then scale it up quickly. We are looking to capture new markets both in India and overseas, with particular emphasis on expanding our presence in Tier II cities in India.

Our plans for the next 18-24 months include:

  • Investing in increasing brand awareness in new markets in India and Asia-Pacific (we are the largest and most trusted brand in the industry)
  • Dominance of Singapore, which is our headquarters in Asia-Pacific, and expansion into new geographies in the region
  • Continue to be the # 1 modular interior solution in different offerings such as MDF, space saving, custom, stainless steel, kitchens, cabinets and eco-friendly storage solutions

YS: What are the $ 50 million and the main objectives of the investment for?

RK: With this investment, we plan to accelerate our growth and enter more than 80 markets, including 60 new market entries in India and 20 cities in Asia Pacific.

We aim to enter and capture smaller Tier II markets in India and invest more in growing our teams, both in India and overseas.

YS: What are the new designers going to focus on? And in what are you looking to evolve?

RK: We plan to onboard over 1,000 new design entrepreneurs across the country. This is in line with the brand’s goal of creating a community of designers who are enabled by Livspace’s technology platform.

While a design partner will showcase, design and manage the execution of their projects, Livspace provides all back-end support through access to its exclusive online tools, extensive catalog of furniture, decor, products and services and to the huge network of community managers, supplier managers. , category managers and service partners.

Support allows design partners not only to choose their working hours, but also to choose to work on more projects. Building on the success of the Livpreneur program – India’s largest community of independent designers turned entrepreneurs – Livspace is now investing in building a stronger ecosystem, helping its design partners do more business while increasing penetration into new regions.

YS: Why look at the experience centers now? When most things are digital and everyone makes things work digitally?

RK: We are an omnichannel interior and home improvement platform and experience centers have been at the heart of our offering. We have offered the guaranteed Livspace experience to over 30,000 customers in our current markets.

As the journey on Livspace begins virtually, our CEs play a central role in the entire journey by allowing customers to evaluate different options in person as well. Our Experience Centers (ECs) have played a key role in providing that experience for the entire consumer journey.

Customers can be inspired; experience the design, finishes and modular solutions; better understand our delivery and installation processes; and of course having design discussions with our teams.

Our offline stores have received a phenomenal response in all the markets we have entered, giving us the greatest optimism. ECs and small format stores have become key points of contact for consumers, helping Livspace to resolve access issues on non-subways. We plan to provide the best omnichannel experience to our customers. Essentially, being where our customers are – whether it’s offline or online.

YS: How has the pandemic transformed the business and interior design industry in general? What has Livspace learned and the key insights?

RK: Despite the continued disruption, Livspace has brought together a highly fragmented home interiors market in India. Interestingly, the pandemic has accelerated some trends that have catapulted companies like Livspace.

Despite the initial uncertainty due to the pandemic, Livspace has grown 1.8 times compared to the pre-Covid era.

These three significant trends have benefited the brand over the past year:

Increased time spent at home

The pandemic has caused people to spend more time at home. Therefore, homeowners re-evaluated the space in their home and chose to renovate their home to meet new needs.

Further digital adoption

There has been a substantial change in consumer behavior. Customers are now more open to virtual collaborations with their designers during video calls, viewing their home in 3D and selecting materials through the industry’s leading e-commerce-type material lists. In fact, two out of three new orders come first from a virtual collaboration.

Increased demand from the organized sector and trusted and reputable brands

There has been a steady increase in demand for organized, digitally focused brands, such as Livspace. Thanks to this, we have consolidated our leading position with a market share of over 65%. Our profits also increased and operations in India made EBITDA profitable in March 2021. To ensure customer safety, we have strict guidelines in place – whether in our works councils or when delivering completed homes. . We implement temperature controls for everyone and strict use of masks, gloves and disinfectants. We encourage contactless and secure design meetings.

YS: How has technology enabled your growth?

RK: Home improvement is a high-impact, expensive and infrequent purchase. The industry is traditionally fragmented, with thousands of design studios, brands, OEMs, and general contractors unable to deliver a scalable solution.

Our technology platform has actively worked to organize the industry, enabling a reliable and predictable e-commerce-style experience. He created a scalable omnichannel experience that has been successfully extended to all markets.

Key innovations that are unique to Livspace and that help us stay ahead of similar players in the market:

  1. A robust three-sided managed market model that connects homeowners, certified designers and vendors / vendors (furniture, modulars, decor, services, etc.) to meet home design and remodeling needs. This unique approach offers higher profitability, better efficiency and greater transparency.
  2. We created Canvas, the only end-to-end platform for the interior and home improvement ecosystem that provides design creation, automatic shopping cart, 2D / 3D visualization tools. connected to a store with more than 4.5 million references and integration from design to production.

Our supply chain includes:

  1. The best modular furniture in this region – kitchens, cabinets, etc. – outsourced manufacturing supply chain with automated sourcing and optimized packaging workflows
  2. Hundreds of brands and over 4.5 million SKUs in all categories

We aim to build an ecosystem of over 12,000 home improvement professionals in India and South East Asia.

As the market evolves, we see a constant shift towards digital brands as they provide transparency to customers on important aspects such as pricing, designs and modular solutions. This is our value proposition, and we aim to consolidate this fragmented market across the knowledge cities of the world.

YS: Do you have any fundraising projects?

RK: Livspace is funded by a range of leading investors around the world and has a deep and diversified capitalization table. The brand raised $ 90 million in September 2020. After operations in India broke even earlier this year, we expect the business to break even over the next 15 months. Like any other startup, fundraising conversations are an ongoing process.

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