UK market interests Latvian furniture startup

Latvian online furniture buying platform DesignScan has recently invested €800,000 into their digital concept with plans for the UK on the horizon.

The startup, which was launched in early 2020, aims to “massively simplify” the purchasing process while taking advantage of cutting edge technology through its platform that brings a variety of products from the best furniture shops and showrooms together in one space

Andrei Kaliev, Founder & CEO of DesignScan, spoke to Inside Furniture on how he plans to grow the brand in a similar way to the clothing platform FARFETCH.

“DesignScan was the result of years of experience in the world of design. I’ve worked in the design and retail industry for many years and over time I developed an understanding of the pain points faced by the players there, especially when it comes to designer furniture – it’s a complex market made up of buyers, designers, showrooms and retailers, manufacturers.

“Despite being the second biggest retail market globally, furniture retailing is one the laggards of digitisation.

“As well as simplifying things for the various market participants, especially designers who have the monumental task of balancing client preferences with furniture and space availability, coordinating between demand and supply, we also want to generate new opportunities for players that have long remained brick and mortar.

“I believe that, with us, the entire team is key. I’ve been lucky to have understood quite early in my career that business success has a lot to do with surrounding yourself with people that are the best within their area.

“Ultimately our goal is to be a globally-reaching platform that designers as well as furniture sellers and buyers think about first. We want to achieve what FARFETCH has done with clothing.”

The current investment is aimed at improving the platform, finalising neural networks and integrating showrooms onto the DesingScan platform, which houses a number of high profile luxury furniture brands including Natuzzi, Ligne Roset, Carl Hansen & Son, BoConcept and many more.

DesignScan will also allocated a large chunk of the investment to be spent on their preparation to enter a larger market, while revealing that it plans to attract additional investment from important players within the furniture market, with the next round going towards commercial activities in the UK or Germany.

“We are not yet present in the UK market, however we have big ambitions and the UK is definitely one of the target markets for DesignScan to expand to,” Andrei revealed.

“Even after Brexit, it is one of the most attractive markets in terms of e-commerce. Having said that, we are also looking into Germany as it is the largest market in Europe.”

As the brand and concept continues to establish itself, 2020 has been an encouraging year for the company, where getting online has been key for retailers.

“We most definitely saw that the retailers have a rather strong desire to understand and figure out how to move their work online,” Andrei said.

“From our observations, before the pandemic many still didn’t pay attention to the “online world” much. They believed that adapting to online would not be a necessity in the coming years, despite it becoming the norm around them. But we always believed that point would come, also for the furniture and even designer furniture space.

“Now, the current situation has accelerated the move to online even further and definitely convinced many of these retailers that now is the time to figure out how online sales work. And DesignScan can provide a great solution.”