Cairo-based furniture marketplace Homzmart has raised $1.3 million in a seed round, the startup told MENAbytes today. The investment which according to our data is one of the largest seed round raised by an Egyptian startup came from China’s MSA Capital, Oman Technology Fund (OTF), and Choueiri Group’s investment arm Equitrust. 500 Startups and some other strategic investors also joined the round.
Founded late last year by Mahmoud Ibrahim and Ibrahim Mohamed, Homzmart is an ecommerce marketplace that connects furniture manufacturers and vendors with customers, selling furniture online.
The platform showcases different designs to help customers personalize their ideas and vision for their home, and bring it to reality, a feature the founders see as an important part of the furniture purchasing decision.
Both the founders have a solid ecommerce background. Mahmoud started his ecommerce career with Rocket Internet’s Jumia in 2012 serving Jumia Egypt as VP Operations and then went on to join Daraz, the leading ecommerce platform of South Asia as a Managing Director for Pakistan. He was Daraz’s Group COO when the company was acquired by Alibaba for an estimated $200 million. Ibrahim is also a Jumia alumnus and used to lead company’s ‘logistics development and expansion’ in Egypt.”
Mahmoud, the co-founder and CEO of Homzmart, speaking to MENAbytes said that they started Homzmart to solve pain points of both customers and furniture manufacturers, “We are going after a huge market valued at more than $60 Billion. There are 25 million people in the MENA region searching for home furnishing every month with no serious player serving them online.”
For customers, Homzmart is making both discovery and purchasing furniture easier. The marketplace helps customers choose from thousands of SKUs from hundreds of sellers on its platform, “It is something that is not possible to do if you’re buying offline as the process of shopping furniture offline is extremely time consuming, lacks variety and there’s no way for customers to compare prices. Homzmart addresses all these pain points.”
When it comes to sellers and manufacturers, Mahmoud explained that a very large number of them, don’t have their showrooms as it is very expensive to open one, “When a customer is looking to make the purchase, they either go to established brands or ask their friends for a referral which means a lot of good sellers never get discovered by the customers. What we are doing is giving these manufacturers and sellers access to technology and helping them land more sales by reaching out to new customers.”
The platform currently has over 10,000 SKUs and has already served over 2,500 customers since its launch a few months ago. Homzmart’s Facebook page with over 30 reviews has a rating of 5 out of 5 which is extremely rare for any online brand.
Mahmoud, speaking to MENAbytes, said that Homzmart takes seven days on average from the date of order to get the furniture to a customer’s doorstep, “If a customer makes the purchase offline, receiving the furniture at their home sometimes could take up to four weeks.
The startup, according to its website, allows customers to reject the product on the spot when they’re receiving it from the courier if it doesn’t match the description or is in bad condition. The customers also get a fourteen-day window to return most of the products if they have a manufacturing defect.
Mahmoud thinks that changing consumer behavior towards buying furniture online is not going to be very difficult, “We can see the market maturing digitally as we’re starting at a time when a large consumer segment is already migrating online so we don’t have to work very hard [to change the consumer behavior].”
Homzmart plans to use the investment to scale its tech, enhance customer experience, grow its selection and expand the team.