digital disruptors | Jun 29, 2022 |
1stDibs sells Design Manager

Luxury online marketplace 1stDibs has sold Design Manager to Performant Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm, the company announced today. The price of the sale was not disclosed.

The interior design project management and accounting software company was acquired by 1stDibs in 2019—according to SEC filings, 1stDibs paid $2.9 million in cash as part of the deal. Founded in 1984 to address the specific needs of interior designers, Design Manager now processes the management of projects totaling $2 billion in billings annually. The acquisition came after 1stDibs announced a $76 million round of funding in early 2019.

“Design Manager has been a strong performer since we acquired the business,” David Rosenblatt, CEO of 1stDibs, said in a statement. “Given our focus on areas like auctions and international expansion, we made the decision to seek an owner who is both able and excited to increase investment in Design Manager. We are thrilled to have found that in Performant Capital. The firm has researched the market opportunity thoroughly and intends to invest in the business to ensure its continued success.”

The sale comes at a time of change for 1stDibs. Following the company’s initial public offering in 2021, its stock has maintained a consistently downward trend, falling from a high of just over $26 to just under $6, where it sits today. Though the site has benefited from a pandemic-era boost in sales and a broader secular shift toward online buying, it’s not a profitable enterprise and it’s clear that Wall Street has its doubts.

It’s not all glum news for the platform, though, as 1stDibs has recently announced a spate of new initiatives, ranging from an NFT marketplace to international expansion in Germany and France.

As for the buyer? In addition to its holdings in technology-enabled services, Performant Capital has a portfolio of software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies like the automotive-focused platforms MyShopManager, Bolt On and Unotifi. “Design Manager is a comprehensive product and serves a group of customers who represent the very best in the interior design industry,” said Jeff Dillon, partner at Performant Capital.

While Design Manager will be the firm’s first foray into design software, Performant expressed in the announcement that it plans to look for software platforms in the interior design space that would expand the Design Manager offering. “We are excited to provide an investment in this technology platform to deliver an even better product for the customer base,” said Dillon.

Homepage photo: Fashion designer Christian Siriano debuted his first furniture collection on 1stDibs. | Courtesy of Christian Siriano

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