CastleGenie: Interior Design Marketplace. Driven by Data, Powered by Analytics
When and how did you start?
” At The End of the year 2014, Our Co-Founders Were planning to Shift their Flats, at that time they discovered that it was a bit difficult to find the right Interior designer for their new home. Everyone claimed to be the best Interior designer, all websites looked the same and it was difficult to visit every Interior designer shop to get the quotations. Secondly, they had no idea about the materials and rate. That is the first time they came across terms such as BWR grade Ply, BWP grade ply etc”, Says the Founding Team of Castle Genie.
How did you come up with the idea? Your inspiration moment
When they encountered such issues there was no other option but to ask for referrals from friends who had recently done their Interiors. Once the job was done, they found out that the work was not satisfactory and did they pay more, maybe they could have missed a better offering, should they have explored more? What about the time??? All this led us to think about a platform that gets quotations from reliable Interior designers and also provide them insights about the materials/sq.ft rate/ market trends/service providers credibility etc. That was the eureka moment and we started thinking about it and giving it a shape. Thus was born “CastleGenie”. Says the Founding Team
Brief about the organization and founding members
CastleGenie wants to be the number one Interior Design platform and an open marketplace that benefits both homeowners and Interior Designers. There are a lot of good Interior designing firms who don’t have access to the right tools to reach customers and showcase their talents. CastleGenie provides the right platform to Interior designers to find filtered leads and also provides them market trends and data that can help them to improve their business.
As for customers/homeowners, CastleGenie interfaces them to multiple reliable Interior designers and assist them in shortlisting/booking the right Interior designer and getting the job done without any hassles.
Founding members know each other for a long time and there is great understanding which is essential to building any great organization. All founding members have more than a decade experience in the IT/technology space.
Co-founder & CEO (13 years of exp. In the IT industry)
Co-founder (Product & Marketing Head) (10+ years of exp. in the IT Industry)
” What began as a small idea has been rapidly growing as the platform of choice for Interior designing in Bengaluru. We launched the first version in August-2016 and have been operational since then. It has been a great journey so far and we have successfully completed many turnkey Interior design projects in Bengaluru. The journey has been a roller coaster ride but it has been exciting so far. It is our dream to assist every homeowner in finding the right Interior designer for their dream home
We recently got “BEST OF HOUZZ, 2018” winner award in the category of “Customer Service,” Says the Castle Genie Team.
Video Credit/ Source: Castle Genie
About funding, plans for growth
So far we have been bootstrapped and hence the growth plans have not been as aggressive as our focus was to understand the pain points of customers and vendors/Interior Designers. But now we are looking to expand and are looking to raise our first round of funding that will assist us to venture into new cities and also investing the amount for expanding the team.
Challenges and Opportunities/ Marketing Strategies
Challenges are numerous but Opportunity is huge as well. There is no other platform that thinks the way Castle Genie plans to address customer issues and providing them insights based on various parameters. Interior Designing is a largely unorganized sector in India, and only about 15% market is organized, so we see that as a big opportunity. The market size is around $20 billion and growing at 30%-40% YOY.
Our Marketing strategy is based on digital marketing and customer referrals. With scale, we believe the marketing costs will come down drastically.
Future plans and funding
We have just started talking to investors to raise our first round of funding that will help us to invest in expanding the team and moving into other cities. A part of the fund will also be utilized for product/technology.
A quote from the founder on the journey, or dealing with the challenge, or any inspiring moment.
The key to success in the startup world is “Patience, Perseverance and Hard work”. There are no shortcuts. It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey that one should look forward to.
EXCLUSIVE: Founder’s advice to budding entrepreneurs
“Never Give Up, have patience and keep building”.
Provide some statistics like revenues or clients acquisitions
Gross Transaction Value(GTV) : INR 2 crore+
Total Number of customers: 200+
Total number of projects completed so far: 30+
Number of Vendors(Interior Designing Firms) on Board: 20+