UK B2B interior marketplace startup Eporta grabs $8 mln Series A


London-based Eporta, a B2B interior marketplace startup, has raised $8 million in Series A funding. Canvas Ventures led the round with participation from other investors that included LocalGlobe, Oxford Capital Partners, Talis Capital and Samos Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

London, 10 April, 2018 — eporta, a London-based B2B interior marketplace startup, has raised $8 million in a series A funding round led by US investor Canvas Ventures as it looks transform the $700 billion global design and furniture industry.

The latest investment round also includes venture capitalists LocalGlobe, Oxford Capital Partners, Talis Capital, Samos Ventures, as well as angel investors Guy Hands, Ed Wray (co-founder, Betfair), Rohan Blacker (founder, sofa.com), Simon Kain (co-founder of Zoopla) and Will Cooper (founder, Achica.com).

Founded in 2015, eporta allows interior designers, architects, property developers, offices and other businesses to find and purchase furniture pieces directly from manufacturers around the world with its online platform. The Hilton Hotel Group, Accenture, Ted Baker, and Charlotte Tilbury are just some of the companies that have used the platform to kit out their spaces with premium lights, chairs, tables, and other furniture pieces.

eporta plans to use the new funding to more than double its team of 28 in Clerkenwell and set up its first office outside the UK, likely at some point within the next year. The exact location for eporta’s second office is yet to be determined. eporta also plans to launch new product categories including fabrics, bathrooms, and surfaces.

eporta was founded by Manchester born Aneeqa Khan, who studied PPE at Oxford before going on to work in private equity investment. She then led strategy at property marketplace Zoopla and oversaw its £919 million IPO in June 2014.

“During my time at Zoopla I bought a flat in Brixton and was basically struggling to find furniture for it,” said Khan. “I realised that the reason I was finding it so difficult wasn’t because there aren’t great pieces out there. It’s actually because it’s really hard for people to find those great pieces or for the people who make the pieces to find trade buyers. So I decided to solve that problem.”

Companies using eporta get a greater selection of high-quality furniture than anywhere else in the world. There are currently over 1,000 sellers in 55 countries and over 10,000 buyers in 85 countries using eporta. Companies that purchase items on eporta can expect to save up to 50% off retail pricing. eporta’s revenue model enables suppliers to pay a low commission to utilise the platform. The service is free for buyers to sign up to, with best pricing guaranteed.

“Our manufacturer base is now the largest global database of manufacturers online for trade,” said Khan. “Our selection is just huge, for want of a better word. If you are someone who has a project — it could be a commercial project or a residential project — if you’re using eporta you’re going to find the best pieces and you’re going to have more selection than you would do anywhere else in the world.”

While eporta boasts an extensive range of suppliers, the company is still highly selective when it comes to deciding which suppliers are allowed to list their products on its platform, with 90% of applicants being rejected.

Paul Hsiao, Founding Partner at Canvas Ventures, said: “Through our marketplace investments, we’ve seen what it takes to build a category-defining company that brings value to buyers and suppliers alike. We see a lot of similarities in eporta, and we’re thrilled to be backing Aneeqa. We believe eporta will transform the commercial design and furnishing sector in the same way that Houzz has reinvented the consumer home-design market.”

Tom Bradley, Partner at Oxford Capital, said: “We backed eporta initially because of our confidence in Aneeqa, and it’s been rewarding to see that confidence pay off. Aneeqa is one of the smartest entrepreneurs we have worked with, and has grown an impressive team with a strong culture and vision. The business is now making a significant mark within the commercial and residential interior design sector and we’re excited for what’s to come.”

About eporta
eporta is the first and fastest growing online interiors marketplace exclusively for professionals. Launched in 2015, it helps trade buyers to discover and order directly from suppliers around the world. Because it operates as a marketplace (and not a retailer) and facilitates direct purchases, buyers get the best trade discounts through eporta, re-enforced by their best price guarantee. It also saves its users time by making it easy to track and manage quotes and orders effectively and access up to date product information, significantly reducing the amount of time and administration traditionally involved in sourcing FF&E.

eporta is free to join and currently consists of more than 10,000 trade buyers across 85 countries and more than 1,000 suppliers. Suppliers on eporta range from large international suppliers such as Tom Dixon, Eichholtz and Vitra to highly skilled craftspeople and the best emerging designers. As well as established brands, eporta is committed to supporting and finding new design talent with at least 10% of its supplier base from up-and-coming designers.

eporta saves buyers significant amounts of time and money, by making it easier than ever before to find the products they need, access all the necessary information and purchase items directly from suppliers. Their inbuilt project management system and customer service team have transformed the experience of sourcing from a time-consuming and complex process to a streamlined system that is powering designers to be able to spend more time on their creative, and elevating standards across the industry.

About Canvas Ventures
Named a “Top VC Firm to Watch” by the 2015 Forbes Midas List, Canvas is an early-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley. Key investment areas include digital health, fintech, AI/machine learning, marketplaces, and “new enterprise.” Canvas portfolio companies include: 11 Honoré, Casetext, Eden, Everwise, Figure Eight, Fluxx, Folloze, FutureAdvisor, Gabi, HealthLoop, Hustle, Kinetica, Luminar Technologies, Platform9, Roofstock, Thrive Global, Totango, Transfix, Vida Health, Viewics, and Zola. The partners are also known for investments they made prior to Canvas, which include: Lending Club, MuleSoft, Houzz, Evernote, NexTag, Check, Doximity, Upwork, and more. Rebecca Lynn, Gary Little, and Paul Hsiao serve as the firm’s investing partners. Visit us at www.canvas.vc.

About Aneeqa Khan, CEO and Founder
Aneeqa Khan, originally from Manchester, graduated from Oxford University achieving a Master’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She began her career in private equity investment, working for Guy Hands at the age of 21, and joining CVC Capital Partners three years later. For both companies Aneeqa broke new ground as their youngest hire. In January 2014, Aneeqa became Strategy Director and Head of IPO at the UK’s leading property website, Zoopla, leading the company to IPO achieving a £1bn exit.

A simple flat redesign was behind eporta when Aneeqa was unable to find the right interiors products online. Despite the huge number of suppliers around the world, there was no one website that made them accessible. Digging deeper, it became clear that the real issue was for the professional buyer who needed an online platform aggregating global suppliers to help them discover and order products liaising direct with the suppliers.

Aneeqa Khan has been identified as one of the top business people in the UK by Management Today – 35 under 35 (2016). eporta backers include Robin Klein, Guy Hands, Ed Wray (founder Betfair) Rohan Blacker (founder sofa.com), Simon Kain (co-founder of Zoopla) and Will Cooper (founder Achica.com). www.eporta.com.