Made.com gets £2.5m to change furniture industry

The new venture, which launched this week, is the brainchild of 28-year-old entrepreneur Ning Li. Made.com cuts out the wholesaler and the retailer by enabling customers to buy directly from manufacturers by using the internet.

Li reckons that Made.com can more than halve the price of contemporary furniture by cutting out the middleman. The site will showcase furniture designs on the website and ask people to vote for their favourites. The most popular designs go into production, and the people who voted can then buy the design at a discount as a “thank you” for their part in the selection process.

“There are still a lot of inefficiencies in the furniture retail industry,” says Li. “It is very common to see a piece of furniture being sold for six to ten times its factory price, but the internet helps us strip out the middlemen.”

Backed by PROfounders Capital, the VC firm whose investors include Hoberman, Birch and Meetic’s Marc Simoncini, Made.com hopes to be a game-changer for furniture design and production.

“From an investment trend perspective we see an exciting transition from retailing to ‘me-tailing’, where consumers are in control, influencing which designs make it into production,” explains Hoberman.

“Made.com is good news for talented designers who struggle to achieve scale production, as it will showcase the best new talent to the buying public, and generate demand for their products.”

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