- The pandemic created a home improvement boom as consumers spend more time at home.
- Big chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s had great quarters. These effects are reaching startups in the home improvement category, too.
- Three venture capitalists told Business Insider which home-related retail startups they’re eyeing and why they’re set to capitalize on this trend.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Whether it’s the result of anxiety-fueled nesting, or apartments becoming remote offices, America is undoubtedly amidst a home improvement boom. Home Depot had a record-breaking quarter, and Lowe’s quarter shattered expectations with a 34.2% jump in sales over the previous year. This renewed interest in revamping our living spaces has influenced the success of home-related startups, too.
Business Insider recently spoke with three venture capitalists who each have their eyes on a retail startup in the home improvement space. Below, they explain why these startups have caught their eye. Business Insider also spoke with the founders of each startup to explain what makes them uniquely positioned to capitalize on the home improvement trend, and the success they’ve had thus far in 2020.
For many consumers who are finding themselves spending more time at home, plants offer both an aesthetic upgrade as well as a pandemic hobby. Natalie Dillon, an investor at Maveron, also sees it as a way to bring the outside in. That’s why she’s interested in Bloomscape, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) plant retailer, which ships plants from its greenhouses located in Michigan.
“COVID has sparked a greater appreciation for the outdoors as a safer location to gather with friends and a relaxing alternative to confined home and office space,” Dillon told Business Insider. Maveron is not currently invested in Bloomscape, which has raised $9.2 million in funding so far, according to Crunchbase. “Companies like Bloomscape that easily enable people to bring nature into their homes will perform well.”
Bloomscape’s founder and CEO, Justin Mast, said the company has “definitely seen growth in consumer plant purchasing during this time and are extremely grateful.” There are plenty of other plant DTCs in the house plant space, like The Sill or Greenery Unlimited. Bloomscape claims its differentiator is the level of plant care experience it can offer to customers.
“We’re the only plant company with five generations of greenhouse growing and horticulture knowledge and are excited to continue to offer that ongoing plant care support to our customers,” Mast said.
Clare is a direct-to-consumer paint startup that aims to take the frustration out of selecting a paint color for your home. It was founded by a former interior designer, Nicole Gibbons, who experienced the pain point of buying paint firsthand.
“Going to a traditional paint store or a big box has traditionally been a hassle, involving a lot of time and many trips back and forth to the store to facilitate a single paint purchase,” Gibbons told BI. Clare, which has received $4.2 million of funding to date, enables customers to shop a curated color selection online and get all the paint and supplies they need delivered to their door.
Alison Rapaport, a partner at Serena Ventures, likes the simplicity Clare has brought to this part of the home renovation process, though the company isn’t a part of Serena Venture’s portfolio. “Clare provides consumers a hassle-free way to select high-quality paint for your home and brighten up makeshift home offices,” Rapaport told BI. “Their product line includes 50 colors carefully narrowed down to prevent decision paralysis and make it easy for consumers to improve their homes.”
Plus, Clare has an answer to health concerns that have moved to the forefront of consumers’ minds because of COVID. Clare’s paint is Zero VOC and GREENGUARD Gold certified for better indoor air quality, which Gibbons says “is a huge selling point for customers who care about creating a healthier home environment. “
For renters or homeowners who aren’t ready to take on big renovation projects, new furniture has been a go-to way to upgrade their spaces. Article is a furniture startup launched in 2013 that was an early player in the DTC furniture boom and has currently raised $5 million. Despite the crowded category and the economic uncertainty of the year, Article co-founder and CEO Aamir Baig says the company has “seen exceptional demand as consumers re-evaluate their homes.”
Ed Yip, a partner at Norwest Venture Partners, correlates Article’s success during the pandemic to consumers being “more focused on buying new furnishings to make themselves more comfortable for the foreseeable future.” Norwest is not currently invested in Article.
Yip also noted that the increased interest in home buying is likely to keep this trend going. “The very low-interest rates is kicking off a home-buying boom and that will continue to drive demand for new home furnishings.”
Article aims to offer consumers high-quality furniture at accessible pricing. Baig hopes this mission will continue to spell success for the company. “While we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we will continue to relentlessly pursue our mission to make it easier for people to furnish their spaces with safety in mind.”