Branch creates new furniture collection as people return to the office – TechCrunch
Branch, a New York-based office furniture company, has spent the past two years outfitting everyone’s work-from-home digs with its staples. It is now ready to launch new products, including some for those returning to the office away from home.
The company was started in 2019 by Greg Hayes, Sib Mahapatra and Verity Sylvester so people could buy high-end furniture without having to go through a reseller, saving an average of 50% compared to buying from traditional retailers. , said Hayes.
We chronicled the company’s beginnings with corporate offices and its run-in with the global pandemic in 2020, which included layoffs and a pivot to home office furniture. Since then, Hayes told TechCrunch the move offered Branch a way to rally around and catch some macro tailwinds from people working from home longer than expected.
“We sold our inventory in about a month and spent 2020 trying to keep up and we went into 2021 wondering if there was any real business here,” he added. “Turns out there was. We grew 600% in 2020, then quadrupled that growth in 2021. This year, we’re aiming to triple it again.
The company’s furniture line includes ergonomic chairs, standing desks, team workstations, filing cabinets, conference room furniture and room dividers. Prices for chairs range between $250 and $400, while desks cost between $500 and $1,000.
Branch has raised $3.5 million, some in 2019 and some in 2020, while building a run rate of up to eight figures on that capital, Hayes said.
Now the company has raised another $10 million, this time in a Series A, primarily to focus on new product launches. The capital injection was led by Springdale Ventures and includes Maywic Select Investments, Group RMC and Agya Ventures. A group of individual investors from the proptech and direct-to-consumer industries also participate, including Saatva Mattress founder Ricky Joshi, Convene founder Ryan Simonetti, and Outer founder Jiake Liu. Existing investors including Nine Four Ventures, Alate Partners, RRE and angel investor Ben Zises also participated.
“We had come a long way on our core products, especially for the work-from-home market, but it was difficult to develop new furniture products, and we wanted to do it right,” Hayes added. “The increase allows us to make great hires, launch great products, and develop technology around furniture so there’s a new way to interact with it and digital optimization with the supply chain. .”
He sees Branch’s technology interacting in two ways: one is on the consumer side, which will launch first, including ergonomics and a sleeker app experience that gives people guidance on how to set up their chair or their office. It’s also going to have better interaction with customer support, product ordering, and gamification.
On the business side, the company has seen a gap in how office managers can manage their office furniture; for example, reporting damage or floor space configuration.
As more and more employees returned to the office, Branch has seen its business revenue increase by 500% over the past three quarters. Its sweet spot is an employee count of between 20 and 200, and much of its business comes from clients talking to their office managers about furniture.
Additionally, the company secures contracts with property owners looking to pre-furnish their spaces. Hayes expects this type of customer to represent 10% of Branch’s business, which was not as high before the global pandemic.
As for the new funding, Branch used it to fill some key roles, including head of furniture design, marketing, sales and operations. Previously, the team had fewer than 20 people. The company is also focusing on product development and R&D and is also considering a possible physical store towards the end of the year.
“We become known for our design and are a design driven brand,” said Hayes. “This year and next we will step it up. It’s a massive industry, bigger than most, but there are no Harry’s or Allbirds in the furniture space, so we’re well on our way to becoming a leader here.