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Meet India's home-grown IKEA


Designing a home can be a long and painstaking process - endless meetings with interior designers and contractors, multiple trips to furniture stores, and then anxious waiting to see the project come to fruition. Anuj Srivastava learnt the hard way.

Srivastava, CEO and co-founder of Indian startup Livspace, went through the hassle when he was trying to do the interior design of his apartment in San Francisco. It took him nine months of misery to get his home designed.

Back in his native country India, Srivastava wanted to make the experience a lot simpler for homeowners and renters. His Bangalore-based startup created an online marketplace that connects homeowners with interior designers.

"You get the entire home design experience in one place," he said. Livspace operates in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

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The company sees 100,000 monthly visitors to its site and has a community of over 400,000 home design enthusiasts.

Customers can choose from hundreds of design ideas on Livspace, based on color preferences, style, and the price range. They can purchase the relevant furniture and accessories directly from the company and have someone from Livspace come in to finish the installation.

"Homeowners love the visual experience where they can see their apartment, personalize the color, style, and be confident before making a purchase online," said Srivastava.

To give a more customized service, Livspace lets customers upload layouts of their homes onto the website. Using a combination of data science and algorithms, Livspace suggests designs that would closely match the home layouts.

With internet connectivity going up rapidly, startups like Livspace are an indication of India's growing Internet and e-commerce market.

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Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) said earlier this year, India's e-commerce industry is growing rapidly. Since 2009, it grew by 34 percent to $16.4 billion; by the end of this year, it is expected to hit $22 billion. The report noted e-tailing, which comprises online retail and online marketplaces, has become the fastest growing segment in India's e-commerce market, growing 56 percent between 2009 and 2014.

Amit Anand, founder and managing partner at Jungle Ventures, said he was seeing interesting ways in which startups were slicing and dicing the e-commerce market.

Anand told CNBC, "The broader e-commerce positions have been taken - you've got Flipkart in India and the likes of Lazada in Southeast Asia. But now we're starting to see some interesting variations - different verticals like fashion, home decor, and various other things."

Jungle Ventures has invested in Livspace in two separate rounds of funding.

Though Anand didn't disclose the amount, he said Livspace was on his radar since the beginning. "We have been very close to them since their inception stage."

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In 2014, Livspace raised $4.6 million in Series A funding from Jungle Ventures, Helion Venture Partners, and Bessemer Venture Partners. Last month, they raised another $8 million from existing investors.

Srivastava is ambitious in his aim for Livspace. He said the company planned to reach $100 million in revenue by the end of next year - its current revenue is nearing $10 million - and expand its footprint in other major Indian cities.