Interior design startup gets boost from back-end tech

interior-design-startup-gets-boost-from-back-end-tech

The online service Modsy kicks off a partnership with Oracle NetSuite for a new phase of business growth.

Image: Modsy

Online interior-design service Modsy has partnered with Oracle NetSuite, which will function as a cloud-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution to help accelerate the five-year-old company’s growth. Modsy will now avail of NetSuite’s core business customizable system. 

“In order to scale key processes within both finance and operations, Modsy determined that an ERP solution was needed to support our next level of growth,” said the founder Shannen Tellerman. “Modsy vetted a number of potential ERPs, and ultimately decided on NetSuite as a best fit.”

As 3D technology becomes increasingly available, Tellerman said Modsy looked at its competition and, “We invested in building our own proprietary tools and systems to make this process faster, more efficient, and less expensive.”

It’s also greatly contributed to the company’s financial success. “The customer and revenue growth have attracted over $80 million in financing from top-tier venture capital funds in Silicon Valley and partnerships from key retail brands,” she said. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Application engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

The back end

The technology initially created for Modsy, coupled with what NetSuite brings fuels Modsy the support the back end provides to what’s visible online. “What we do behind the scenes is just as important as what our customers see and feel every day,” Tellerman said. “We’re looking to create a system that helps us have the data and information we need to make the best decisions every day, which ultimately creates a better front-end customer experience.”   

“Interior design services can be costly, time-consuming and anxiety-ridden,” she said. “Most experiences end with a 2D moodboard provided by the designer, and only after all the furniture is ordered and delivered, can you see everything together and recognize the related mishaps.” Modsy lets the customer take the wheel (or in this case, the mouse/trackpad).

Rather than some random designer presenting their vision, “Our software-enabled tool allows customization of your designs, ensuring you land on one you love,” she explained. “We then use technology so you can visualize in advance exactly how your designs will look in your room, eliminating guesswork in buying decisions.” Modsy also provides “access to a professional designer and an actionable solution to turn your virtual designs into your reality,” she added.

Interior designer: Online or in person?

Fans of HGTV’s “Flipping Out,” or any number of the home improvement TV shows know hiring a professional interior designer can be an odious task. Designer and client must be well matched; while the designers’ expertise is welcome (and what you paid for), clients want their own aesthetic, but are uncertain in putting pieces together. Further, with traditional interior designers, there are repeated meet-ups to choose everything from a shade of hardwood, to the placement of damask drapes. There’s a lot that can go wrong, and clients are very likely still recovering from the trauma of the new build or remodel—this means patience is at a premium. 

A client tackling their own buying and designing can lead to many rabbit holes: catalogs, and magazines, Pinterest, television shows and friend recommendations. It’s exhausting and time-consuming, and often ends in frustration. Such was the catalyst for Tellerman, as she explains in her founder’s story, “I imagined a one-top digital catalog that would allow anyone to easily see, imagine and buy all within the context of their very own home.” 

Image: Modsy

3D design’s realistic rendition

Tellerman’s answer was an online interior design service with highly realistic 3D images of actual rooms, paired with a “store” for decor. A former partner on the investing team at Google Ventures, Tellerman applied her previous experience in 3D game development at Sim Ops Studios.

“With a background in 3D graphics, I knew a better way to visualize options was possible and wanted to create a product that could unlock those stuck in the design process and blocked,” Tellerman said.

It didn’t have a name but in college when Tellerman imagined a career path combining three passions— art, design and technology—this would eventually become Modsy.

Tellerman explained, “In 2015, Modsy was among the first to make 3D technology available at an affordable price to the average consumer. We have a world-class 3D engineering team, and we’re continuing to stay one step ahead of the industry in creating 3D breakthroughs to make it more accessible and affordable.”

The large Modsy staff now works entirely remotely. It was COVID-19 that sent the entire staff, primarily part-time and freelancers, to work from home.

Key to success

Tellerman illustrates how Modsy built a reputation, “We started with a small team of interior design experts and user experience designers who worked to understand customer needs and pain points,” through interviews and repeated building of prototypes.” Her team grew quickly and was able “to solve tough problems of scaling a design service, and tackling breakthrough technological advancements in 3D automation.”

Being customer/user-friendly was critical. The customer experiences the innovative software, and the thrill of design, she said, “It only takes a few minutes to get started and you can invest as little or as much time as you would like.”

“The goal is to make transforming your space easy and fun,” Tellerman added. “Start by completing our Style Quiz to help hone in on style preferences. You submit photos and a few basic measurements, or use our iOS app to quickly scan your room, no tape measure required.”

Once the customer completes the initial steps, a Modsy designer reviews the project and works to create customized designs to suit a client’s style, space, and budget. “After you receive your initial design, you can provide your designer with feedback for revisions or try out your own ideas with our Live Swap feature and 3D Editor tool,” Tellerman said.

She hopes that this next stage for Modsy, with assistance provided by NetSuite, will draw even more interest. “We are most excited about further improvements” and “a new level of information for key decision making.” 

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