Chairish, the marketplace for vintage and used furniture, is raising $8 million in funding. Altos Ventures, OATV and Azure Capital Partners participated in the round.
Founded in 2013, Chairish has become a platform for consignment stores, antique galleries, interior designers and others to buy and sell everything from art to bed frames. Chairish does not buy up any of the inventory, they mostly provide a forum for connecting.
With a site that ships things as large as sofas, one of Chairish’s key selling points is that they handle the logistics. It can be hard to move large furniture across town or across the country, and part of the company’s value add is that it simplifies the process.
They make money on a commission basis, earning roughly 20 percent per item sold. Unlike Move Loot and some of the other businesses in the space that have struggled, Chairish doesn’t “touch the furniture until it actually sells,” said Gregg Brockway, co-founder and CEO. Brockway previously co-founded TripIt, which sold to Concur.
Startups “need to get your core business unit economics right before you try to start scaling the business,” he said.
Taking a page from the early days of 1stdibs, Chairish has also built Decaso for showcasing high-end furniture. It is not an e-commerce platform, but a place for designers to market their newest items. This has become a source of added revenue for Chairish that comes out of sales and marketing budgets.
Although it has a different business model than Chairish, there has been success in the online furniture business, with Wayfair valued at $3 billion on the public markets. Brockway views this as a positive sign from the industry, and believes that furniture sales are in the “very early stages of moving online.”
Chairish is trying to be smart about mobile, a growing platform for e-commerce. The team has developed an app with AR-like capabilities that shows how a potential purchase would appear in one’s living room.
It’s a “great way to see if something fits with all the other stuff,” said Brockway.
Ho Nam, managing director at Altos Ventures, says he believes in the Chairish vision because the “team has been able to address a fragmented secondary market, create a brand people love and demonstrate strong economic fundamentals.” He believes “they are well-positioned for scale.”
The San Francisco-based startup previously raised more than $8 million from Azure Capital, O’Reilly AlphaTech, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and more.