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Sequoia Capital leads Rs 300 cr funding round for Urban Ladder

Ratan Tata-backed online furniture company plans to scale up its technology platform to boost growth


Urban Ladder, the online marketplace for furniture, on Thursday said it has raised $50 million (approximately Rs 300 crore) in a fresh round of funding led by Sequoia Capital. Hong Kong-based TR Capital and existing investors Steadview Capital, SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital also participated in the latest round of funding.  

The company didn't divulge the details of the investments, but Sequoia Capital is expected to hold a minority stake in Urban Ladder with this funding. The new investment comes at a time when the Ratan Tata-backed online furniture company plans to scale up its technology platform, launch new offerings and expand to newer geographies to drive growth.

“Over the last three years, we have stayed sharply focussed on our design thinking, product quality and customer experience. While these will continue to be important themes, geographical expansion will also be a key focus area this year. We will be present in 30 cities by the end of 2015 with the new product offerings,” said Ashish Goel, CEO and co-founder, Urban Ladder.

“There will be a lot of new additions in our catalogue and categories over the coming year. We are also working on tech solutions across storefront, mobile and product visualisation which will be long-term differentiators for us,” said Goel.

Launched in July 2012, Urban Ladder has managed to hit a sweet spot with investors in a fairly short span of time. By now, the startup has raised four rounds of funding that totals up to $27 million (excluding investment from Ratan Tata and the latest round), from investors such as  Kalaari Capital, SAIF Partners, and Steadview Capital. Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus, Tata Group made a personal investment in the company in November 2014.   

At present, the Bangalore-based online furniture store offers close to 4,000 products across 35 categories such as beds, coffee tables, sofas, chairs, wardrobes and dining tables.

“We are investing heavily in technology to introduce world class tech innovations that will massively simplify furniture shopping,” said Rajiv Srivatsa, COO and co-founder, Urban Ladder.

In the highly commoditised ecommerce business where services can be cloned easily, innovation in offerings becomes crucial for scalability. In the next few months, the Bangalore-based company is looking to expand its current tech team of 25 people to about 70. Overall, it is targeting a total workforce of about 2,500, including delivery and logistics team, by the end of 2015 from its current strength of 600 people.

This year is crucial for the company as it plans to move from just furniture products to spaces where it will provide a complete solution for the house, including living and dining space, bedroom, kitchen, kids’ room, outdoor and balcony. During the April-June quarter this year, it is looking to offer an entire interior option such as furniture and furnishing.

India’s over $15 billion furniture market is largely unorganised. According to Goel, the online furniture business is estimated to be just about $140 million (Rs 700-800 crore) providing enough scope for growth. In the online space, Urban Ladder, competes with other established names such as Pepperfry and Rocket Internet-backed FabFurnish.