Inhabitr, a Chicago-based furniture rental platform, has today announced the close of $4 million in Series A funding, led by Great North Labs.
Inhabitr launched in 2016 after the co-founders, who have gone through dozens of moves between the two of them, decided that purchasing, moving and maintaining furniture is one of the biggest pain points of the whole process.
Inhabitr tries to solve that by letting users rent furniture on the platform at a much more affordable cost than buying, never having to worry about the associated costs of moving that furniture should they relocate.
The company works directly with manufacturers to source products, and partners with local furniture stores and their employees to handle delivery and white glove installation.
Customers can choose from pre-packaged rooms, which have been curated by in-house designers, or build their own room by renting à la carte. Living room packages range from $70/month to $130/month, while individual pieces of furniture, like a sofa, are priced anywhere between $30/month to as high as $150/month for some high-end pieces. If at any time a user wants to change things up, Inhabitr charges a $99 swap fee to swap old furniture out with new.
The Chicago-based company already serves 10 cities in the U.S. and has put furniture in more than 2,000 homes.
The hope is that Inhabitr can better serve the end customer by tying together these three existing frameworks — designers, furniture manufacturers and retail stores.
Co-founder Ankur Agrawal believes that one of the biggest challenges for the company is scaling operations in a logistics-heavy industry, and perfecting the training playbook for the retail employees interfacing with the end customer.
“Another big challenge is capital,” said Agrawal. “Furniture as a category is an operations-heavy category and there is little understanding around the industry. Investors think of this as a non-sexy category and are looking for an obsolete business that software can come and disrupt. But the next feat of iteration will come from brick and mortar innovation.”