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
Fernish

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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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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