mydeco.com, a new UK-based home decor intermediary with some innovative interior decorating tools, launches today with backing from a who’s who of European investors, reports TechCrunch UK. Mydeco is the latest startup for UK founder and executive chairman Brent Hoberman since he exited from Lastminute.com via a sale to Travelocity in May 2005 for $1.1bn dollars.
Around 500 retailers are aggregated into a site offering over a one million products. Users will be able to build 3D models of their rooms and add their preferred decor as well as 3D models of 20,000 items of real furniture they can buy. The rooms themselves will form the content of a user’s profile, creating a social community around ‘rooms’. Each room design will – eventually – be shareable on Facebook, MySpace etc via widgets and applications. And mydeco has an additional Etsy-like, micro-affiliate model. Any small interior design business or an individual can upload a room design. If someone buys a sofa from that design, that designer will get a small revenue share from that sale.
SPARK Ventures are the lead investors in mydeco and have been joined by Lord Rothschild’s family interests, VC firm Arts Alliance, Marc Samwer (co-founder European Founders Fund) and Atomico Investments, co-founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, founders of Skype and Joost. More investors are listed here. mydeco has a highly experienced management and engineering team, many of whom are ex-Lastminute.
The prize is a slice of the $40 billion home decor market in the UK, and eventually the US, where the market is well past $100 billion. Through a combination of search, 3D visualization, affiliate schemes and advertising mydeo hopes to be bringing in revenues of around $1 billion in the UK alone in three years time. This is a pretty serious play. Although furniture stores are hurting in the credit crunch they are likely to put money into intermediaries like this to increase customer acquisition during tough times ahead.
UPDATE: DesignMyRoom launched yesterday – It’s a new product from a company called Swatchbox Technologies that allows people to decorate a real room virtually via a photograph of the room and DesignMyRoom’s library of objects. Previously the company, which has been around for 11 years, sold 2 million copies of desktop software that has similar functionality as the online tool. The site is reminiscent of MyMiniLife, a virtual world you can embed on a blog or social profile. Again it is about selling the real items in the room. The company also makes money through product placement and other advertising.