During the worst days of the pandemic, when people were stuck at home and hungry for a form of entertainment beyond streaming yet another TV series, many turned to DIY home improvement projects. . With the home now a place for work, school and leisure at the same time, the DIY home improvement market has grown so much that $514.9 billion is projected globally by 2028, up from $333.7 billion in 2021.
South Korean startup Bucketplace, which operates home furnishings and interior design app OHouse, is looking to continue to capitalize on that trend with its most recent $182 million Series D round, said startup co-founder and CEO Jay Lee. Monday in an interview with TechCrunch.
As a later-stage company, Bucketplace will use the new funding injection to accelerate its growth in South Korea and enter new markets such as Japan, Southeast Asia and the US, Lee told TechCrunch. Bucketplace also plans to hire more tech specialists to help develop an augmented reality (AR) feature on its platform to help consumers visualize products such as furniture or decoration in their own home, Bucketplace says.
The funding comes just months after Bucketplace acquired Singapore-based online furniture platform HipVan, and Lee said the company will continue to look for acquisition opportunities and strategic partnerships, both in Korea and in foreign markets.
“Eight years ago, OHouse was just a community of people sharing interior design content,” Lee said.
When the app launched in 2016, interior designers and home improvement hobbyists were able to post photos of their homes to share their remodeling experiences. Users would then peruse a wide selection of posts and purchase items they liked right from the app. The business model is similar to Houzz, which also has a slew of online showrooms.
Now, the startup is looking to offer a variety of services that cover almost everything living space, ranging from home improvement, home repairs and maintenance to furniture delivery, moving services and even a trash can pick-up service, Lee told TechCrunch.
Last June, OHouse launched a next-day furniture delivery service that allows users to choose the date and time they want to receive the furniture. In addition, it offers services that help users connect with more than 5,000 home renovation companies.
Lee didn’t say when he hopes to release OHouse’s AR feature, but users will upload photos of their home to see what a piece of furniture looks like in the room. If users want to buy the furniture, they can simply click on it, which will take them to the seller’s website, Lee said.
The startup appears to be growing rapidly, with 10 million users accessing the platform each month through its app and website, the company says. Bucketplace also claims that OHouse has been downloaded more than 20 million times in South Korea.
Lee declined to comment on Bucketplace’s valuation, but according to sources familiar with the situation, Bucketplace raised the Series D round at a post-money valuation of approximately $1.4 billion (KRW 2 trillion). The latest round, which brings the total amount raised to about $261 million, nearly doubled the eight-year-old company’s valuation. Bucketplace last raised $70 million in November 2020, at a valuation of approximately $890 million, as reported.
Investors in the Series D round include SoftBank Ventures Asia, Singapore’s Vertex Growth, a venture capital fund backed by sovereign wealth fund Temasek, Bond Capital, BRV Capital Management, Korea Development Bank, IMM Investment and Mirae Asset Capital.
This post South Korea’s OHouse raises $182 million to add AR to home improvement app – TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/05/08/south-koreas-ohouse-lands-128m-to-add-ar-to-home-improvement-app/”