Everyone can recognize great interior design. But it’s much harder to actually design a space and pick out all the items you need to make it look great. Hutch, a Los Angeles-based startup that has raised a total of $7.14 million in seed and Series A funding from Founders Fund, FF Angel, Sean Rad and Scooter Braun is aiming to fix this.
The team behind Hutch has been in the design space for a few years now. Their first company, Zoom Interiors, paired college students and young professionals who wanted their space designed at a low price point. The process was mostly manual, but was enough to show the team that there was some promise in the design space.
The team then moved to Los Angeles to launch Homee, which tried to merge interior design with conversational commerce. You’d chat with a designer and tell them about your taste and style, and a real person would reply a day or so later with recommended items you could purchase to furnish your space. But doing this manually was expensive, and the team realized that AI was still a few years away from being mature enough to provide the automation they needed to make Homee scale.
But the team soon realized that while it was cool for users to chat with a designer, most people really just wanted to quickly see how they should decorate their space and quickly buy the furniture.
So Hutch was born.
The new app focuses on visualization — you take a picture of your space and Hutch will send back a virtual design essentially showing you how your space will look if you purchase the recommended items. They will replace your furniture and light fixtures — and even coffee-table books and trinkets.
Hutch also has a cool before-and-after feature, which lets you drag a slider between your submitted picture and the new virtual design.
You also can, of course, buy all of the recommended items directly in the app, which is how Hutch plans on generating revenue. These items are either drop-shipped directly from a manufacturer or white-labeled — so in most cases you either won’t know the brand of furniture until it arrives, or sometimes you won’t know it at all.
While not everyone will be OK with receiving an unknown brand, Beatrice Fischel-Bock, co-founder and CEO of Hutch, explained that their customer base (students and young professionals) really don’t care where a couch comes from — as long as it looks good.
In terms of price point, the startup is aiming to match retailers like CB2 or West Elm — so definitely more than IKEA, but less than high-end retailers like Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware.
There’s also some cool magic going on in the background to allow Hutch to create these virtual designs.
Once they receive a submitted picture of a living room or bedroom (more spaces will be supported soon) they wipe out the furniture, then figure out the scale — something that was traditionally hard to do without actual measurements of the space. But by picking up on contextual clues, like the fact that outlets are typically a standard 16 inches above the floor, they are able to come up with their own measurements.
It’s important to note that there are other companies doing similar things in this space. Modsy turns a few submitted pictures into an entire 3D room mockup that they they then decorate with furniture, and DigitalBridge works with online retailers to show their products in a virtual mockup of your living room.
At the moment for Hutch, the decorating and design is done by hand — it takes about 20 minutes for a designer to create one room, and the team returns all visualizations within 24 hours of submitting them. Of course they realize that in order to scale this time needs to be reduced, and they hope to one day automate most of the process to make it near-instantaneous.
In the long term, Hutch sees the opportunity to expand beyond interior design — and expand more broadly into visualized commerce. So you could take a picture of your car or wardrobe and Hutch could provide recommendations (and of course links to purchase the recommended items).Featured Image: FOTOGRAFIA Inc./Getty Images