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We Are Looking To Acquire At Least 20k Paid Customers By Next Year: Kunal Sharma, Founder & CEO, Flipspaces

This Design Tech Startup is eyeing two Global Opportunities powered by its core technology stack, one of which is VIZSTORE

How would you like to define the journey of Flipspaces from 2015 to now?

Flipspaces has witnessed a remarkable business growth in a short span of time. Established in 2015, it is renowned for its tech-oriented solutions in the commercial design and build industry. We have executed multiple projects to transform more than five million square feet of commercial spaces for renowned companies across corporates, start-ups, MNCs, retail brands, SMEs including BSH, Nobroker, Openmoney, Aditya Birla, InstaOffice, Nivea, Oppo, P&>, Reebok, Royal Enfield, The Address, Mitsubishi Power, BharatPe, Bounce, and PlaySimpleGames.

During the pandemic, while the entire country was under lockdown and businesses across verticals had come to a standstill; we at Flipspaces adopted the “Pivot & Persist” outlook and launched two new initiatives.

In May 2020, we launched REBOOTSPACES, a line of products and services that focused on creating next-generation commercial spaces that were intuitive, empathetic and safe, along with ergonomic workspaces to facilitate a seamless home office experience.

The second initiative was Design and Product Offshoring, which was launched in mid-April 2020 and is a vertical that delivers design-only services combined with product export from India for clients in the US. This experiment has been extremely successful with the unprecedented growth of 35X in the last 6 quarters and is now profitable at the EBITDA level.

The recovery of the brand can be well seen from the comparison of Q1 revenue last year versus this year.

The tech-led interior design business has hit EBITDa level profitability and continues to scale with pre-pandemic numbers being exceeded in the current quarter this year.

Apart from these, another recent development is the launch of VIZSTORE, the first SAAS product for third-party furniture and furnishing brands and retailers which is seeing a fantastic response amongst furniture and furnishing brands, retailers and SMBs.

What is the problem Flipspaces is trying to solve through its offerings?

The conventional commercial interior design and build industry is considered unorganized and unconsolidated dominated by multiple small and medium-sized companies while the demand remains heavily price sensitive. Flipspaces undertakes the endeavour to democratize the commercial design and build industry by leveraging the potential of new-age technologies.

Since the very beginning, we have consistently focused on unit economics adherence at the group, vertical and SBU levels. Through an impetus on tech-led differentiation, agile team structures and a key focus on growing repeat and referral businesses, Flipspaces has been able to scale to become a market leader in the tech-led interior design of commercial spaces.

How Covid has disrupted your business? Have you started seeing any recovery in the commercial design space?

The outbreak of the pandemic has resulted in numerous changes for the commercial interior design and build segment. It has evolved the work culture globally. With this, the commercial design segment is no longer limited to creating functional spaces. Instead, it has imbibed a whole new aspirational essence wherein consumers are more demanding than before and look for innovative designs, high-end customizations and professional execution services.

We, at Flipspaces, capitalized on the opportunities presented by the pandemic. We are leveraging the potential of technology to accelerate scalability and create a differentiated customer experience in design and build for commercial spaces in a post-pandemic world.

On one hand, the core technology suite acts as a one-stop platform to deliver a seamless customer experience in commercial design and build projects. This tech-driven approach has helped the business scale in India and the US where we have seen 35X revenue growth in the last 6 quarters since the outbreak of the pandemic.

On the other hand, we released VIZSTORE, the first SAAS product for third party furniture and furnishing brands and retailers which has received a tremendous market response. This unprecedented VR-enabled SAAS product has first been used extensively and validated as part of the internal tech-suite.

Considering the post-pandemic scenario, the commercial design space has steadily started to move on its recovery path. The commercial spaces are focusing on safety, wellbeing and hygiene while facilitating seamless communication, collaboration and culture building. The pandemic has reinstated the use of commercial spaces to build culture through physical collaboration especially in the startup and SME segment across sectors.

What technologies have you been leveraging to disrupt the commercial design space?

The rapid influx of new-age technologies such as smart building and modelling augmented and virtual reality, etc. have streamlined and tailored the commercial design process. Being a leading and tech-enabled player in the commercial design and build industry, we have found that the end-clients have largely had a broken experience with other stakeholders i.e. builders, brokers, product suppliers and contractors due to the lack of one consolidated tech suite which connects design visualization, product supply chain and execution management.

With VIZDOM, the proprietary tech-suite within Flipspaces, we are looking to create one integrated tech-suite which creates efficiency and customer delight in each step of the process from choosing their commercial space to moving into a design differentiated space.

Additionally, our core tech suite combined with deep domain expertise has allowed us to launch and successfully grow our SAAS product, Vizstore, for Furniture and Furnishing suppliers. Vizstore allows product suppliers to create a digital twin of their physical store experience thereby reducing on their cost of physical real estate and cataloguing. Armed with a digital tool kit, Vizstore enables Furniture and Furnishing brands and retailers to drive omnichannel commerce with more reach and efficiency.

In that sense Flipspaces is a unique market defining venture with a two pronged revenue model. The first being tech-led design and build and the second more recent one which comes from the parent tech-suite is the SAAS model being driven as Vizstore.

How big is the market opportunity in the commercial design sector?

There has been steady recovery in the demand from the commercial real estate industry post pandemic which further triggers expedited recovery of the commercial interior design segment as well. The commercial interior design segment is expected to hit an all time high with the combined market size for India & US estimated at a whopping $120 billion by 2023.

What gives your company a competitive advantage?

As a tech-led commercial design and build leader, we have ticket-size that is 10X of other Interior Design startups like Livspace and Homelane, a market size 8X of these players, with India and US combined, and a more templatised product and delivery ecosystem. Further, we have kept focusing on our differentiation through tech-enablement in every vertical of business while keeping a sharp focus on profitability which has helped us tide through difficult times of COVID infused shut-down. We’re now poised for scale.

In Flipspaces, towards creating a distanced value proposition, we firmly believe in the power of technology to add disproportionate value to every stake-holder of the commercial real estate industry i.e. builders, broker, product and service suppliers, and end clients.

As a tech-led commercial design and build leader, we focus on our differentiation through tech-enablement in every vertical of business. Meanwhile, we are keeping a sharp focus on profitability which has helped us tide through the exacerbating impact of COVID infused shut-down.

What is the capitalization structure?

Total Funding: $4.5 M (Series A & Pre-Series B)

Major Investors: Carpediem Capital, Consortium Led by Prashasta Seth (Ex-CEO IIFL AMC)

What is the planned use of proceeds from the funding raised so far?

With recently raised funding, we are planning to allocate the funds to drive our US vertical growth where we have already witnessed 25X growth in a year. In addition, our flagship 3rd party SAAS product from the stable meant for furniture and furnishing brands, retailers and SMBs has received a tremendous market response. Thus, we are planning to utilize the funds in augmenting our newly launched SAAS vertical and strengthening technology strategy for business acceleration.

What are the trends expected in the commercial interior design space in 2022?

The working professional today spends 40% of their active time in workspaces i.e. offices, hospitality outlets, healthcare and educational institutions etc. With evolving work culture across the globe, the commercial interior design segment is no longer limited to creating functional spaces; instead it has imbibed a whole new aspirational essence wherein consumers are more demanding than before and look for innovative designs, high end customisations and professional execution services. The Commercial interior design industry has transcended over time from mere workspace renovation to workplace transformation with heavy impetus on design aesthetics which is truly reflective of the brand ethos and organizational culture.

Last, what are your expansion plans?

Flipspaces is at the cusp of becoming a market-defining venture. In a short span, we have created a strong global presence with dedicated offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and more recently in Boston. A $100 billion commercial Design and build market the US also offers a better margin profile in the tech-enabled design and build segment. Leveraged by the tech platform, the US vertical has grown 35X in the last 6 quarters and continues to move on the growth trajectory. With each passing day, we are growing at an impressive rate and aggressively working on our expansion plans.

Our flagship SAAS vertical – VIZSTORE for furniture and furnishing retailers has received a great response from the market. We envision VIZSTORE to be the Virtual Twin for the physical showroom of the FNF brand or retailer. Powered by gamification and Virtual Reality, it allows customers to walk through the virtualized showroom environment and discover and visualize products as they would in a physical showroom experience. It allows FNF retailers and brands to cut on their cost of real estate for showcasing products and allows them to drive Omni-channel commerce through an unprecedented VR-enabled tech. Since it is a paid product from the outset for retailers, brands and manufacturers, we’re looking to expand on the tech functionality and also increase outreach for the sales of the product. We are looking to acquire at least 20k PAID customers by next year.

Buoyed by the inorganic growth in the US, we are looking to grow our DnB business in the US market 5X from H1 in the second half of the ongoing year. As part of our growth strategy, we will move on an expansion spree from growing the team to geographical outreach to maintain strong margin profiles.

Source: Business World

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