Stock - Livspace
Get your interiors consultancy off the web - that in a nutshell is the Livspace concept. The portal has struck it big in India and Singapore and wants a repeat of that in the Gulf. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Livspace, India’s biggest home interiors design solutions platform, is taking its first step into the Gulf, with a launch in Saudi Arabia and followed by other Gulf markets in the next 24 months. The platform, headquartered in Singapore, has entered a partnership with Alsulaiman Group of Saudi Arabia and an Ikea partner in the Kingdom.

Livspace’s plan is to build up its regional presence by spending around $50 million. Its operating model is straight-forward – consumers wanting ideas or concepts to do up their homes will check out the Livspace platform, where they can connect with interiors consultants to deliver on a budget. This applies both to new homes requiring an interiors solution as well as renovation/makeover-related work.

This approach is quite a contrast from the typical furniture and home accessories business in these markets, where homes are done up in a raft of styles and using a mix-and-match approach. Approaching an interiors designer is mostly indulged in by the extremely well-off. This is what Livspace will want to change.

“Home renovations as a market has large potential across different income groups - we have offerings across categories to help homeowners decide on their renovations project basis the specific budget they have in mind,” said Anuj Srivastava, founder and CEO. “Livspace has also created more income opportunities for designers and vendors/suppliers across price points.”

The company is looking to expand across 80 new cities, starting with the Gulf markets.

The founders
Anuj Srivastava was formerly at Google, where he led product marketing for Google Local, the Google Display Network and Google AdSense. He has an MBA from London Business School.

The other founder, Ramakant Sharma had an extensive stint in the fashion portal Myntra, subsequently acquired by Flipkart. An IITian from Kanpur, Sharman has a Masters in Business Administration from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

India experience

The company launched in India in 2016 at a time when a new generation of homeowners were getting into the property market, and were willing to try out concepts delivered digitally. That pace of change seems to have picked up even after the pandemic, with Srivastava saying the India operations are already profitable and Livspace hopes to repeat that status in Singapore next year.

Stock - Anuj Srivastava and Ramakant Sharma
Anuj Srivastava, who is on the left, and Ramakant Sharma launched Livspace in 2016, at a time when Indian homeowners were willing to go digital in their selection of what they wanted for interiors. Image Credit: Supplied

Choosing Saudi for launch

That move may have been dictated by the choice of partner, the Alsulaiman Group, which has extensive background in the home furnishings space. Plus, there is “Saudi Arabia’s booming real estate market, especially the residential segment, presents significant opportunities,” said Srivastava. “It is estimated to be a $15 billion market opportunity.”

True, real estate in the Kingdom is booming, with housing assigned as a priority sector. New launches and handovers are frequent, while the authorities have eased the procedures for prospective owners to pick up mortgage support.

A $200m funding in place
Livspace currently serves Singapore as well as 21 cities across India. Since the launch, it has delivered over 120,000 rooms and sold over 8.5 million SKUs through its platform.

The company has raised over $200 million from the likes of TPG Growth, Goldman Sachs, Ingka Ventures (IKEA), Kharis Capital, Venturi Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Jungle Ventures, Helion Ventures and UC-RNT.

Same model for Gulf

Livspace will not be making any drastic changes to the operating model here. In the initial phase, it will all be about bringing on board enough designers and suppliers to cater to a varied consumer tastes. “We are using internet technology and supply chain to solve problems of home renovations for customers,” the CEO said. “The platform further allows Livspace to explore JV-led partnerships to expand services in new and existing markets.

“The business model essentially remains the same - which is bringing design partners, vendors and customers together on one platform. We have created the industry’s first end-to-end platform to consolidate the fragmented home interiors and renovation industry. The proprietary platform brings together homeowners, design professionals, vendors and brands.”

If all that means more designs to pick-and-choose from, homeowners in the Gulf will have no complaints…

This partnership with Livspace will allow us to expand the scope of the customer experience from the beginning of the design of the home to the end of implementation, in an innovative and unique experience to turn the dreams of homeowners into reality

- Saud Alsulaiman, CEO of Alsulaiman Group