Everyone wants to live in a beautiful abode with eye-catching interiors and aesthetic furnishings. According to Statistics Korea, the domestic home furnishing market in Korea (sales of durable goods such as furniture, home appliances, and accessories) has grown from about 73 trillion won ($57 billion) in 2018 to about 89 trillion won ($69 billion) in 2021. The interior remodeling market in Korea, compiled by the Korea Construction Industry Research Institute, will also reach 30 trillion won ($30 billion) in 2020.
This helped Korean startup Bucketplace Co. climb to a leading position as an interior design platform selling an array of curated interior design and decoration items. The startup that operates the popular lifestyle app – OHouse’ – has attracted a new investment of 230 billion won ($190 million) for the growing business. The small company started by three people has become the largest interior platform company in Korea, with one in five Koreans joining it.
This investment was led by Korea Development Bank, which invested 100 billion won ($78 million). Domestic investors such as IMM Investment, Mirae Asset Capital, KB Digital Platform Fund, Smilegate Investment, global investment companies Softbank Ventures, BRV Capital Management, and Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, invested in this investment. Foreign investors such as Vertex Growth, a venture investment subsidiary, and BOND, a Silicon Valley investment company, participated.
Bucketplace to invest more in technology innovations
OHouse was established in 2013 with the motive to move the home furnishing/interior market online. The monthly transaction amount for the platform during peak season is about 180 billion won ($141 million). Recently, it has expanded its business to include various service areas related to the House, such as construction, installation/repair, and moving, so that all experiences related to the customer’s House can be improved in one-stop. In addition, it entered the global market by acquiring Singapore’s online furniture platform Hipvan last year.
OHouse has been steadily investing in technology and infrastructure. Last year, it started a microservice architecture (MSA) transition to expand large-scale customer events to more users and operate stably. ‘OHome Delivery,’ which began in June 2021, is also receiving favorable reviews for its next-day delivery, free installation, and convenient return. Home furnishing retailer IKEA Korea also launched ‘O House X IKEA Korea Kitchen Installation Service,’ a pilot service for IKEA Korea kitchen products in August 2021.
OHouse has a development team composed of top tech companies in Korea and abroad, such as Google, Amazon, Naver, Kakao, and Line. It plans to continue to increase developer recruitment significantly. In addition, it is spurring various technological innovations, such as the introduction of technology infrastructure for stable scale-up and service advancement using machine learning and 3D/AR. In addition, it plans to innovate the logistics network through technology investment and increase investment in hiring-related personnel. Bucketplace CEO Lee Seung-Jae said, “OHouse will grow into a lifestyle super app that can solve everything related to the House beyond the interior. We will do our best to expand globally.”
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