Sometimes an experience can trigger a career, and for Ajith Kumar Karimpana, it was the challenge of furnishing his empty house after moving to Bengaluru from the US in 2009. Today, his initial furnishing frustration has taken the shape of Furlenco, which rents out designer furniture.
His clientele comprises students, people in their first jobs, newlyweds and those relocating because of their profession, all in the age group of 22-34 years. As part of its service of giving homes a complete aesthetic look, Furlenco rents out an array of award-winning, high-quality designer furniture with matching furnishings and decor.
Karimpana has a background in investment banking technology and earlier worked with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. The 35-year-old started the company as Rent Ur Duniya in 2012, which is now called Furlenco. “We introduced this concept for youngsters in Bengaluru so that they could live in great-looking homes even if it was for a short while. The online marketplace follows the rental model, which is 60 per cent cheaper than EMI. Our furniture is designed in-house and styled according to European and tropical Indian standards to easily fit into urban Indian homes,” says Karimpana. Once the services are ordered online, customers get free doorstep delivery and installation within 24 hours to three days of an order being placed plus the flexibility to swap or return furniture.
Cutting costs has been the main motto for youngsters who relocate from city to city every three years on an average. Customers can decorate their living rooms, bedrooms or kitchens from Rs 1,500 to Rs 7,500 per month. A queen size bed, table, bedside table, a lamp, photo frame and soft furnishings are for just Rs 1,500 per month. Furlenco has a customer base of 2,000 in Bengaluru and is growing at 20 per cent month per month.
“We provide every kind of furniture that can be used for as long as it is required, without investing heavily or buying it. Our main purpose is to elevate the living standards of urban Indians who often have to compromise on their need for a good-looking home due to lack of affordable and convenient solutions. We cater specifically to youngsters. For them, is easier to rent rather than invest huge amounts that can be allocated for other needs,” said Karimpana, the CEO of the firm.
Furlenco expanded its operations to Mumbai last month. “We are now focusing on Mumbai as a potential market because a majority of people relocate to the mega city for jobs. The cost of living in Mumbai is extremely high, making it difficult for the young and professional crowd to afford new furniture,” he says.
The Mumbai launch will be followed by setting up operations across every tier-1 city in India. “Our goal is to reach out to every urban Indian on the move, and we hope to create a successful global name in the rental furniture service category,” says Karimpana.
Early this year, they raised Rs 38 crore from Lightbox Ventures, a Mumbai-based venture fund that invests in companies. Furlenco plans to use the money to expand its product range, build technology and invest in more services.