Fernish Pitches Rentable Furniture as an Alternative to Ikea Frustration, Grabs $30 Million

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Fernish Pitches Rentable Furniture as an Alternative to Ikea Frustration, Grabs $30 Million

As the divide between home and work erodes, Fernish is one of several startups targeting young adults with a monthly subscription to modern home and home-office decor.

The startup that rents and sells furniture made by brands like Crate and Barrel and CB2 raised a $15 million equity round last month as well as $15 million in debt financing last quarter, the company told dot.LA.

Like many home furniture companies, the Los Angeles firm saw demand for its service soar at the onset of the pandemic, as the virus forced millions of Americans to adapt to remote work. Fernish benefited from the dramatic shift, but the trend hammered office furniture mainstays like Steelcase and Herman Miller, which depend on bulk orders from the very corporations that took up telework policies.

Fernish's latest raise comes on top of a $15 million round in 2020 from investors such as Kosla Ventures, Amazon consumer business boss Jeff Wilke, and dot.LA co-founder Spencer Rascoff. The four-year-old company landed $30 million in 2019 in a round led by RET Ventures.

Today, the company offers free delivery and assembly in a handful of cities, including Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. On Fernish renters can, for example, pair a bamboo writing desk with a "terracotta" office chair for a combined monthly fee of about $70.

A recent ad campaign from the company pitched it as an alternative to Ikea and the frustration that accompanies assembling flat-packed furniture with those tiny allen wrenches. "No more irrational anger at the entire nation of Sweden," one ad read.

Fernish's competitors include Feather and Oliver Space, and all three seem to be revamping a model popularized by firms like Rent-a-Center.

These startups emerged to offer city dwellers, who rent and move often, an alternative to lower-cost, virtually disposable furniture. But with homeownership out of the picture for many Millennials, companies like Fernish have also faced criticism for arguably rebranding instability as flexibility.

For their part, all three companies argue their services are sustainable and part of the circular economy. By renting out and refurbishing furniture, Fernish says it prevented "1042 metric tons of CO2 from entering the environment" and stopped 247 tons of furniture from winding up in landfills last year.

This story has been updated with the latest fundraising figures from Fernish.

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Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
Why These Ukrainian Entrepreneurs Are Making LA Their Home
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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