Ashish Goel and Rajiv Srivatsa – Urban Ladder Founders, after graduating from IIT & IIM, and working many years with corporations like Mckinsey & Co. and Yahoo respectively, desperately wanted to start something of their own. They were searching for some particular niche on the internet to start with. During that time they bought new flats next to each other and had the horrible experience of their life while buying furniture for their homes. There was no such place from where they could order decent furniture of their choice with attractive options and ended up sleeping on the floors for a few months.
That is once they realized what the online market lacked and determined to assist individuals in beautifying their homes by providing them an internet window for furniture and home decor. After some market research and brainstorming, this duo gave their startup a name- Urban Ladder.
Begining & Growth of Urban Ladder:
Urban Ladder started in 2012 as a 10-member team operative out of a house in Bengaluru’s Marathahalli space. From the start, Urban Ladder Founders paid sturdy stress on style and client satisfaction. Urban ladder quickly gained attention in metros, and tier-one cities for its elaborated specifications and common-sense touches like giving a name to every furniture. One distinct feature that caught everyone’s attention was human silhouette standing aboard the article of furniture. “The purpose was to grant people a good idea of the height and breadth of the furniture when put next with an average person’s height.” The feature became a rapid hit.
How Urban Ladder Founders survived the initial section of the startup?
It was not an unquestioned market to start with. Urban Ladder wasn’t the pioneer of the furniture market. Pepperfry and later, fab Furnish joined the fray. Aside from Pepperfry and fab furnish, It had direct competition with all the large offline & online players like Home city, mode Home Centre, Godrej Interio, Fab India, Style Spa, DLF Pure, Evok (Hindware), Zensaar.
This is what the Urban Ladder Founders did to survive the initial year:
1) Rajiv and Ashish interacted with vendors and made them believe that their products are customer-friendly and worth to try. It took lots of time and struggle, but eventually, vendors agreed to work with them.
2) Recruited an efficient team that was driven by values and vision; they managed to even get a number of them at a pay cut! Rajiv and Ashish had plenty of interactions with potential hires to make them believe in their story and vision. Some United Nations agency joined Urban Ladder at that time, have continuing six years later to drive worth.
3) Took sturdy calls when needed. Particularly once it involves ‘not’ doing one thing, even at the price of the business. The founders at one time decided to expand only in 3 cities, although they had set out with pan-India plans. It had been a tough decision to form; however, they notwithstanding took it since it was the need of the time.
Urban Ladder Funding Details and Investors:
In the initial 3 months of their startup, Ashish and Rajiv met with Vani Kola and the team of Kalaari Capital. Since both the Urban Ladder Founders was from technology and consulting background, Investors were questioning whether the business would be able to scale. While their competitor was expanding to multiple cities, the team centered on only 35 categories and 3 cities within the initial year. That was a decision that they had to make to conserve money, and due to this razor-sharp vision of the founders, Kalaari eventually placed in $1 million.
After a year, To survive the competition within the market, Urban Ladder got $5 Million investment from SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital asynchronous A funding in Nov 2013.
In 2014, they raised another whopping USD 21 Million from Steadview Capital (along with existing investors SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital) with an intention to sharply increase their channel and later in Nov that year, Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount of funds in Urban Ladder.
Urban Ladder has raised a complete of $112.8M in funding over eight rounds. Their latest funding was $5.6 million raised from Trifecta Capital on September 21, 2018, from a Debt funding round.
From then, there was no looking back for them. And currently, after seven years, when we look at them, they’re in 17-states, providing the best quality & service. What began as a simple startup idea has currently flourished into a well-known entity. The only thing that kept them going is Honesty, transparency & client Obsession.