Korean startup Urbanbase gets $1.8M to turn apartment floor plans into virtual reality

Urbanbase, a Seoul-based startup that makes virtual reality tools for interior planning and design, plans to expand in Asia after raising $1.8 million in Series A funding. Its investors are CKD Venture Capital, Magellan Technology and Capstone Partners.

The company, which was founded in 2013 by CEO Jinu Ha, a former architect, has now raised about $3 million in total. Urbanbase’s patented algorithm turns 2D floor plans into virtual spaces in as little as two minutes, it claims, and is more accessible for small companies than cameras like Matterport. Urbanbase’s virtual reality platform lets users see how their future homes will look and test furniture, wallpaper and flooring.

Co-founder and chief strategy officer Saejoon Oh says the company currently has 40 partnerships with furniture companies, with about 4,000 items available in its VR platform. It also works with real estate companies to provide floor plans for apartment buildings in Korea.

About 60 percent of total households in Korea, or about 8.5 million, currently live in apartments, Oh adds. Urbanbase’s platform helps small businesses reach them and compete with big-box retailers like Ikea, which entered Korea in 2014. In addition to its virtual reality tools, Urbanbase also plans to launch augmented reality smartphone apps.

While Oh says Urbanbase currently doesn’t have much competition within Korea, it is preparing for the likelihood that big furniture retailers, as well as tech companies that are already sitting on a lot of indoor mapping data, will eventually want to enter the space. In the meantime, its Series A will be used to enter Japan, China and countries in Southeast Asia.