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Startups

Home interior app seeks new funding at over $ 1 bn valuation

New funding for Bucketplace likely to create a new S.Korean unicorn startup

By Nov 10, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

An image of OHouse community page, a home interior app in South Korea
An image of OHouse community page, a home interior app in South Korea

South Korea's Bucketplace Co., an operator of the country's largest home interior platform, is seeking to raise about 100 billion won ($85 million) in new funding, which is expected to double its valuation in a year.

Bucketplace is at the early stages of talks with investors for Series D funding at a valuation of 1.5 trillion to 2 trillion won ($1.3 billion-$1.7 billion), according to venture capital industry sources on Nov. 10.

Its existing shareholders, including Mirae Asset Venture Investment Co. and IMM Investment, and foreign institutional investors, are expected to participate in the latest funding round.

The new funding will come a year after it raised $77 million in Series C funding in November 2020, which put its enterprise value at around 800 billion won.

The 2020 funding was led by global tech investment firm BOND Capital, IMM Investment, Mirae Asset Venture Investment and Mirae Asset Capital Co., as well as Naver Corp., South Korea's online giant. Bucketplace is the first Korea-based startup that Silicon Valley-based BOND Capital has invested in since its inception in 2018. 

Prior to the fundraising, Bucketplace had sold 60 billion won worth of shares in itself to South Korea-based Smilegate Investment and other VC firms in September 2020. At the time, its enterprise value was estimated at 1.1 trillion won.
Bucketplace Chief Executive and Founder Lee Seung-jae
Bucketplace Chief Executive and Founder Lee Seung-jae

Founded in 2014, Bucketplace's OHouse is an online platform where interior designers share their remodeling experiences. Users peruse a wide selection of interior postings and purchase items directly from the app. With about 4,000 interior designers registered on its app, the platform also offers matching services for users searching for remodeling services.

Its annual sales more than trebled to 75.9 billion won in 2020, versus the previous year's 24.2 billion won. Its monthly gross merchandise value exceeded 150 billion won last August, with over 10 million users.

In 2018, it was chosen as one of the best apps of the year on Google Play Store, recording over 20 million accumulated downloads and a cumulative transaction value of over 2 trillion won.

An image of Ohouse community page (Courtesy of Bucketplace)
An image of Ohouse community page (Courtesy of Bucketplace)

Recently, Bucketplace expanded into the home repair services market by acquiring Zibda, a domestic startup that offers light and furniture installation and plumbing services.

"Bucketplace has been growing so fast that its sales had jumped tenfold over the past three years," said a venture capital firm official. "It will be able to build its presence strong enough to seek an initial public offering within the next three years."

As prolonged social distancing and a rise in working from home prompted a greater interest in interior decoration, its rival platforms and offline-based home furnishing companies, including Hanssem Co. and Hyundai Livart, have recorded strong sales as well.

Earlier this year, Seoul-based IMM Private Equity had acquired management rights of Hansseem, the country's top furniture brand, in a consortium, aiming to bolster Hanssem's online presence.

Write to Jong-woo Kim at jongwoo@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article

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