Founder Aneeqa Khan
The funding will help the online B2B marketplace create new jobs in London and open a new office overseas.
eporta, a London-based B2B interior marketplace start-up, has raised £5.67m in a series A funding round led by US investor Canvas Ventures as it looks transform the 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 £919m 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.”
“Our manufacturer base is now the largest global database of manufacturers online for trade,” added 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."
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