first_imgRemember how you styled your first apartment directly from an IKEA catalog? That’s no longer necessary thanks to The Inside, the direct-to-consumer custom brand for home décor. This company caters to those who want to personalize their spaces, fueled by technology while not breaking their bank accounts and not having to wait months for a custom order.  Leveraging AR and VR to help customers imagine and personalize their space, The Inside manufactures made-to-order home furnishings without sacrificing quality, elegance, or speed.  This is adulting…AlleyWatch chatted with founder and CEO Christiane Lemieux, an interior design veteran who sold her last company DwellStudio to Wayfair in 2013, about the process of creating a trendy, tech-enabled home brand, the company’s future plans, and its recent round of funding.Who were your investors and how much did you raise? We raised our $2.6M Seed round from a combination of institutional investors and individuals who offer particularly relevant insights and experience. Corigin Ventures and Lerer Hippeau co-led; existing investor Forerunner Ventures, as well as BAM and Canaan participated.  Individuals included Susan Lyne (former CEO of Martha Stewart), Jenny Fleiss (Rent the Runway, JetBlack) and Alexa Von Tobel (LearnVest).Tell us about the product or service that The Inside offers. The Inside is the next generation, direct to consumer home furnishings brand. We offer on-trend, designer style at a fraction of the price, in a fraction of the time.What inspired you to start The Inside? The Inside was born from the need for real direct-to-consumer custom designer home selection. This category is very nuanced, and consumers want to “design” their spaces.  The inside gives them the tools to create a personalized space and custom product at a fraction of the time, cost, and without the burdensome delivery of traditional home businesses.How is The Inside different? The Inside is a technology-enabled home brand.  We are design first but service the consumer in an inspiring but frictionless way.  We make creating the personalized space of your dreams seamless, so you can spend more time enjoying living in it.From an UI perspective, what are you doing to allow consumers to visualize what their space could look like with your products? Creating a visual feast! We are constantly creating interiors (using 3d modeling techniques) to help the customer understand dimensions, think about how to mix and match, and most importantly to feel inspired. We evolve these images into VR and AR experiences to continue creating a rich experience.Creating a visual feast! We are constantly creating interiors (using 3d modeling techniques) to help the customer understand dimensions, think about how to mix and match, and most importantly to feel inspired. We evolve these images into VR and AR experiences to continue creating a rich experience.What market does The Inside target and how big is it? The Inside targets the $150B home furnishings market.What’s your business model? We design and manufacture exclusive home furnishings that we sell directly to consumers online. We have disrupted the traditional version of this business model with backend innovation and technology that strip out costs we are able to pass on to the consumer.For example, we manufacture virtually and everything we sell is made to order – so that we carry zero inventory – and every image is created with 3D Modeling, rather than expensive photo shoots, so we can bring product to market faster than anyone before us. We have a very lean team and light working capital model in a traditionally capital-intensive category. We are also set up to launch AR and VR very quickly.What was the funding process like? We kept it to a tight eight weeks.What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital? Finding time to continue running the business.What factors about your business led your investors to write the check? The opportunity is huge, and we have the team to address it. We have created a unique value prop, an innovative business model, a design-focused team, and proprietary technology within a $150B industry.What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months? Continuing to build growth momentum, learning from the market, and launching new products — specifically a sofa.What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank? Get creative with marketing strategies. Find new channels.Where do you see the company going now over the near term? Soon, we will serve the entire home. We aspire to be the go-to designation for home furnishings.What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?My new Favorite is Frenchette.  The wine list boggles the mind and the lobster is insane. Filed Under: #NYCTech, AlleyTalk, Angel/Seed, Business, E-Commerce, Funded in the Alley, Funded in the Alley, Funding, Funding News, Interviews, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Startups, Techs and the City Tagged With: Alexa von Tobel, BAM Ventures, Canaan Partners, corigin ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Jenny Fleiss, Lerer Hippeau, Susan Lyne The Inside Raises $2.6M to Unleash Your Inner Interior DecoratorSeptember 11, 2018 by AlleyWatch 318SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedincenter_img PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POSTlast_img