Most of us are comfortable with the fact that our bedrooms will never look like anything more than a storage room with a bed. However, a new app wants to change all that. Homee, an interior design app, helps users revamp their houses without having to hire an expensive professional.
Virtual Interior Designer
The aim of Homee is to make furnishing a room easier for the busy millennial. The app is essentially an online furniture store with some added incentives. Users can browse through interior design merchandise for sale, like table lamps and rugs. But Homee is not just any online table shop. The app provides users with design boards and renders to visualize how a new item will look inside a room.
That’s not all. Homee has a live chat feature that connects users with a professional interior designer. The professional can help a user find the right type of furniture the room needs. This is the defining feature of Homee, which will most likely attract younger users who are inexperienced with home design.
The app is completely free to use. When a user first installs the app, he or she will be prompted to fill out a short automated survey to determine interior design preferences. A human designer will later review the survey and polish up the recommendations. Users can redo a whole house with Homee if desired.
Homee offers Amazon-like retail services to users as well. The “fast and free” shipping delivers orders straight to the home within two weeks. Returns are accepted for all items within the first 30 days. Homee promises high-quality products and price matching if an item is found cheaper elsewhere.
Angels Step in
Homee is a novel concept to sell furniture to young and social media-obsessed buyers. The innovative app is certainly generating quite the buzz in Silicon Valley. Already, the app has raised $7.2 million in funding from notable investors.
About $5 million in finances were reportedly provided by Founder’s Fund, the venture capital firm belonging to Peter Thiel. The same firm funded PayPal and Facebook once. The majority of the rest of the funding comes from a private investment by Sean Rad, CEO of the popular dating app Tinder. A number of other angel investors have also pitched in.
High Conversion Rates
The CEO of Homee, Beatrice Fischel-Bock, told media that the app currently has a “very high” conversion rate. She added that the app only loses a buyer if that person is not “vocal” enough in interior design preferences.
Interestingly enough, Homee is the result of a web-based furniture store called Zoom Interiors initially pitched on Shark Tank, a reality TV show about entrepreneurs. Zoom ended just as the show’s season wrapped up.
Fischel-Bock’s time on the show has not been a complete waste. She has been able to make important connections and gain recognition for her idea on the show. Soon after the show ended, Sean Rad had called her, offering to fund her interior design idea.
Despite Hype, Challenges Ahead
Homee is off to a good start, for now. But the app needs to be more efficient in order for the concept to truly work.
The biggest challenge Homee faces is that the app is highly dependent on human interior designers. Homee will have to maintain a steady supply of human employees who can offer the quality advice the app promises. At the same time, the app will have to keep improving its graphics-heavy mobile platform.
Homee’s current system has human designers managing 5 to 10 users at once. Fischel-Bock has said she wants to improve backend support so these designers can handle up to a 100 users at once.
The company is still small and has only about 30 employees. About 15 work as in-house trained interior design advisers to users, but not all have prior experience in interior design. Because the designer numbers are low, users in early testing stages of the app have complained about slow service.
Despite minor setbacks, Homee is all set to succeed. Just this year, the company’s revenue has risen by 700 percent in 10 weeks, according to the CEO. The number is highly anticipated to go up.