October 30, 2019 –
Today we’re announcing our seed investment in Oliver Space.
At Mayfield, our People First philosophy extends to the values and purpose of the consumer companies we back. Our commitments to sustainability, humane design, and positive human impact helped drive our lead investments in Grove Collaborative, Lyft, Poshmark, SolarCity, and many more.
Oliver is another great example of our firm’s mission.
Oliver is reinventing the $200Bn US furnishings industry, which in its current form constitutes a shocking waste of time and resources: 10M tons of furnishings (!) end up in landfills every year. The IKEA-led disposable furniture trend has only exacerbated this phenomenon, as has the reality that today’s young professional might move once every 12–18 months between college and buying their first home.
Oliver believes that when people shop for furnishings, what they really want is a home that reflects humane design and beauty. In a world of Instagram and HGTV, we all want spaces that feel great, work together harmoniously, and feel like they were designed by someone competent rather than foraged from former roommates. But most of us are really not that skilled at putting all that together.
Plus furniture and accessories are a big pain logistically. Assembly? Waiting 8 weeks for a sofa to be delivered only to realize it isn’t quite what you wanted? Trip after trip to the store? My wife and I spent 5 years decorating a 1-bedroom apartment that never *quite* got finished, and boy did we feel the pain of many weekends spent rug shopping. This industry in many ways is organized to deliver consumer frustration.
Enter Oliver Space. They see a chance to make our living easy with:
- Design: Beautifully designed spaces. Furniture and accoutrements that go together, guided with software and a personalized touch.
- Convenience: No hassle delivery and pickup; no assembly.
- Value: A good price that fits most budgets.
- Service: High quality, friendly help all the way through.
Building such an ambitious service, one that at scale will completely change how millions of people design and enable their most intimate spaces, is no easy task. So when not one but several of my former Square and Twitter colleagues referred me to Chan Park for his unique hustle, vision, and experience, we felt immediately that the right ingredients were in place.
Chan’s personal experience informs his vision — a world traveler who quickly rose to lead operations for Uber’s massive Southeast Asia division at the age of 30, he experienced first hand both the challenges of bringing an operationally complex new product to millions of users, and the importance of simplicity and beauty in the best consumer movements.
And as a former board member at Rent A Center, I saw firsthand how the rent-to-own model offered needed flexibility and access that helped its customers live better and worry free. My early work on that company inspired me to seek an entrepreneur who could successfully manage the complexities of this operationally intensive business model, while reinventing this category and the user experience from the ground up.
At Mayfield as consumer investors we don’t just invest in products; we invest in high frequency or subscription commerce platforms that solve real problems for customers. We interact with our living spaces every day, which is why making them better is such a worthwhile undertaking.
All of that comes together with Oliver, and we’re thrilled to partner with Chan and his team on this important journey!
Originally published on Medium.