Mumbai-based end-to-end interior design startup Houseome offers complete home designing solutions, from floor plans to customised furniture to suit clients’ requirements and budget.
At a glance:
Founder: Pradeep Singhvi
Year founded: 2016
Sector: Interior design
Problem it solves: Professional interior design services
Funding: Rs 50 lakh
In 2010, when Pradeep Singhvi bought a new flat in Mumbai, he hired an interior designer. He soon found out that there was no transparency in the cost aspect, and that he was never filled in on complete material details. Deciding to solve this problem himself, Pradeep decided to start up.
Pradeep, now 39 years old, came from the right background. Originally from Jodhpur, he spearheaded business planning and budgeting of Star Bazaar. A chartered accountant, he has worked as finance head for financial and corporate companies, including Times Television Network, Capgemini, and Raymond Apparel.
Hinting at what the end consumer is getting – an awesome home – Pradeep named his startup Houseome and launched it in 2016.
“We set the expectation that we will provide only the best design, a transparent cost structure, and guaranteed completion of project that we undertake well in time. We have added professionalism, which was missing in this space, and ensure that the consumers get personalised homes,” Pradeep tells YourStory.
The initial investment of Rs 15 lakh (from his personal savings) in the initial stage was used to support website development, manpower, and marketing. With investment from angel investors, their total funding now is Rs 50 lakh. It has been allocated to develop a virtual reality (VR) tool and expansion.
Pradeep feels people in Mumbai are comparatively more receptive to new ideas.
“For instance, when we approached our customers with the new VR tool that enabled them to experience their home interiors in a 3D environment, the idea was very well accepted,” Pradeep recollects. The startup is now working on adding more features to the VR tool for better results and a virtual library.
Technology has been a significant force in ensuring great customer experience for Houseome. Dummy interiors on virtual platform can be shown to the customer and they can incorporate the customer’s suggestions until a satisfactory design is approved.
“It helps us in closing their requirement in time and expedites on-ground execution,” Pradeep says.
Since interior designing is a unorganised sector in India, the lack of professionalism - from contractors to carpenters – was a challenge for Housesome. They would take up work but many did not have the requisite skills and eventually ended up giving product that consumers did not like, Pradeep says.
“At Houseome, the first step is to understand our customer’s requirements. After giving them a realistic cost estimate of the work and timeline to complete the project, and getting it approved, the designing phase begins. Once the complete design on a virtual platform is done and approved, on-ground execution of the design commences,” he says.
Houseome has an in-house team of architects and interior designers who work closely with the customer, the factory, and contractors. The team comprises six architects and interior designers in Mumbai, and two architects and interior designers in Pune. They also have experienced contractors who manage labour for timely execution.
“When our designer meets the customer for the first time we get their feedback online. It helps us gauge whether our designer was able to understand the customer requirements and gave appropriate suggestions. It also helps us in refining our pitch and product to the customer in a better way,” Pradeep says.
In the creative process, they create mood boards, mockups, 2D Layouts and 3D Images to help a customer visualise his or her dream home. “We also use a proprietary VR tool to help them visualise. Once the theme is finalised, we share a complete estimate of the work along with material details,” Pradeep adds.
Houseome provides free inspection of the site and estimates to the customer. The cost for designing the interiors of a 2 BHK starts at Rs 8 lakh, but depends on the customer’s requirements. The average ticket size of their projects is around Rs 15 lakh. Houseome aims to ensure that the project is finished in agreed time lines, which can go up to 6-8 weeks.
The startup sources all branded material from registered vendors to get consistent quality. Due to scale, they are able to get deep discounts on material, which gives better margins. Their modular kitchen is sourced from a factory in Mumbai, and they have partnered with a logistics company for delivery. Other furniture is customised and made at the venue itself.
Pradeep adds that they use standard products to complete work. “For example, Asian Paints for painting work, Saint Gobain for false ceilings, Hettich hardware, and so on. It ensures quality and lets us give one-year AMC and three years’ warranty on furniture items,” he says.
Within one year of the launch, Houseome had completed nine projects worth a total of Rs 7.8 million. Houseome has had around 20 clients, and is working with 15 right now. This year’s revenue is estimated to be about Rs 14 million.
“We have achieved growth of 80 percent as compared to inception year (2016-17). For FY 2019 we expect to grow close to 150 percent with better profitability. We have already entered the Pune market and are looking to expand to Surat and Ahmedabad,” Pradeep says. He claims that they hit break-even in FY2018 and are expecting to be profitable in the next financial year.
“Our biggest achievement is clocking revenue of Rs 21 million in less than 18 months of launch and a growth rate of nearly 100 percent. It will be a huge success from a startup point of view to be profitable in two years of existence, considering that we are competing with well-funded startups and have our own clientele,” Pradeep smiles.