AptDeco is eating the $14B furniture market: How they got product market fit | Summary and Q&A

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November 19, 2020
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Garry Tan
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AptDeco is eating the $14B furniture market: How they got product market fit

TL;DR

AptDeco is a marketplace where people can buy and sell furniture, focusing on popular brands, and offering a fully integrated delivery service, all while reducing furniture waste.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does AptDeco differentiate itself from traditional resale platforms like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace?

AptDeco stands out by focusing on popular furniture brands, offering a fully integrated delivery service, and providing a better user experience compared to other platforms.

Q: How does AptDeco contribute to sustainability efforts?

AptDeco prevents furniture waste by allowing users to sell their unwanted furniture and connecting buyers with quality used items, reducing the need for new purchases and ultimately reducing carbon emissions. Their focus on sustainability sets them apart from other furniture marketplaces.

Q: What challenges did AptDeco face when building their delivery service?

Initially, AptDeco outsourced their delivery service but found that the quality of service wasn't up to their standards. They decided to bring delivery in-house to ensure a better customer experience. This decision required solving logistical challenges and developing efficient scheduling systems.

Q: How does AptDeco use data to drive their business?

AptDeco is a data-driven company, using data to improve their marketing strategies, optimize campaigns, and make informed decisions. They collect and analyze data to understand customer behavior, tailor their offerings to customer preferences, and continuously improve their platform.

Q: How does AptDeco address diversity and inclusion in their hiring process?

AptDeco believes in the value of diverse teams and intentionally hires candidates from underrepresented backgrounds. They focus on building a diverse team by leveraging different sourcing channels, including non-traditional routes, and being purposeful in hiring women and minorities. They recognize the importance of representation, both in their team and in the tech industry as a whole.

Q: How does AptDeco handle supply constraints in a marketplace?

AptDeco tackles supply constraints by actively seeking out power sellers and establishing relationships with businesses that have the inventory they need. By diversifying their acquisition channels and attracting sellers who value their quality brands, they can maintain a steady supply of desirable furniture items on their platform.

Q: What role does software play in AptDeco's success?

Software plays a crucial role in AptDeco's success by enabling efficient logistics, routing, and scheduling. Their powerful logistics software platform allows them to operate without the need for warehouses and provides a unique advantage in the marketplace. Other companies have even expressed interest in utilizing AptDeco's delivery services due to their efficiency and effectiveness.

Summary

AptDeco is a managed marketplace for used furniture based in New York City. The founders, Reham Fagiri and Kalam Dennis, started the platform out of their own frustrations with selling furniture on Craigslist. Their goal was to create a better way for people to buy and sell furniture, focusing on specific brands that people love. AptDeco offers a fully integrated delivery service and has built powerful logistics software to support it. By providing a sustainable solution for buying and selling furniture, AptDeco has achieved product-market fit and has become a supply-constrained marketplace.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is AptDeco and how did you guys get started?

AptDeco is a marketplace for buying and selling furniture based out of New York City. The founders started the platform because they had a rough experience trying to sell their own furniture on Craigslist. They saw an opportunity to create a better way to buy and sell furniture and built a managed marketplace with a fully integrated delivery service.

Q: How did you approach the demand side in terms of repeatable customer acquisition?

AptDeco has focused on diversifying its acquisition channels, using out-of-home advertising, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and search engine marketing. They also highlight the service and convenience they provide, as well as the specific brands that customers love. By speaking to these factors and creating a strong customer experience, AptDeco has generated demand and built a strong word-of-mouth reputation.

Q: How did AptDeco handle the challenge of supply constraints?

AptDeco realized they were supply-constrained and focused on finding power sellers who could provide the needed supply of furniture. They diversified their sourcing channels and built relationships with businesses that had the inventory they were looking for. They also focused on making the selling experience easy and incentivizing sellers to list high-quality inventory. By addressing supply constraints, AptDeco was able to scale its business.

Q: How did you solve the logistics and delivery challenges?

Initially, AptDeco outsourced the delivery to moving companies, but they found that the quality of service did not meet their standards. To provide a better customer experience, they brought the delivery service in-house and built powerful logistics software. They focused on same-day pickup and delivery, optimizing the scheduling aspect, and minimizing the touches of the furniture to reduce costs. Their logistics platform has become a key differentiator and has attracted interest from other companies looking to utilize their services.

Q: How did you incorporate sustainability into your business model?

Initially, sustainability was not a primary focus for AptDeco, but as they analyzed the data, they realized how much furniture ended up in landfills. They recognized that by providing a marketplace for used furniture, they were contributing to a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. AptDeco now actively promotes the sustainability impact of their platform, highlighting the amount of furniture they have saved from going to landfills. Sustainability has become an important part of their brand and a source of pride for the company.

Q: How did you approach building a diverse team at AptDeco?

The founders of AptDeco have always been focused on building a diverse team. They believe that diversity of thought from different backgrounds leads to better outcomes. They have intentionally looked beyond traditional hiring channels and have hired from a variety of sources, including startups and non-Ivy League schools. They have been purposeful in ensuring diversity at all levels of the company, even if it takes longer to find the ideal candidates. Open dialogue and promoting a safe space for conversations about diversity have been key principles for AptDeco.

Q: What are some lessons you learned as early founders?

Reham learned that she didn't need a lot of experience in business to start her own company. She realized that if you have an idea, it's a good time to start working on it, even as a college student or fresh graduate. Kalam emphasized the importance of finding solutions and being hell-bent on that goal, even if the solution is not the smartest or easiest one. They both stressed the importance of being data-driven, collecting and analyzing data early on to make informed decisions. They also mentioned the value of open dialogue and not being afraid to have conversations about difficult topics.

Q: How does AptDeco plan to expand its market?

AptDeco is currently available in the New York metropolitan area, but they plan to expand to other markets. They are actively hiring for engineering, marketing, and a Head of People, indicating their commitment to scaling the business and keeping up with the demand. They are open to remote hires from anywhere in the U.S. as they adapt to the virtual world.

Takeaways

AptDeco has achieved product-market fit by creating a managed marketplace for used furniture and addressing the demand and supply sides effectively. They have focused on customer acquisition, providing a convenient and sustainable solution for buyers and sellers. By owning their logistics, they have been able to offer affordable and reliable delivery services. The founders' commitment to diversity has resulted in a diverse and inclusive team. AptDeco's success in the furniture market demonstrates the importance of being data-driven, finding solutions, and creating a strong customer experience. As they continue to expand into new markets, AptDeco is well-positioned to become a leader in the industry.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • AptDeco is a marketplace for buying and selling furniture, addressing frustrations with traditional resale methods.

  • The platform focuses on popular furniture brands and offers a fully integrated delivery service.

  • The company prioritizes sustainability and has prevented millions of pounds of furniture from ending up in landfills.

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