Online business-to-business interiors marketplace Eporta has raised $8 million in Series A funding to expand its current 28-person team, located in Clerkenwell (home to the upcoming Clerkenwell Design Week). It will also launch new product categories, and establish a new office in a to-be-determined location outside the U.K. within the next year.
The London-based platform, foudned in 2015, links trade buyers and designers with product from partners like Flos, Fritz Hansen, Tom Dixon, Innermost, De la Espada and Moroso. All told, there are 1,200 product manufacturers and 10,000 companies on the site.
For designers, the marketplace offers invoicing tools and trade discounts; for suppliers, it provides a platform and takes a cut (under 10 percent) of sales.
Currently, the portal is intended for product designers and nearly 10,000 trade buyers, including retailers, architects and interior designers who get a 50 percent (or so) trade discount. “We’re the of Airbnb for design,” Eporta co-founder Aneeqa Khan, an Oxford graduate who had originally considered founding a business-to-consumer platform before settling on B2B, told Forbes in a recent interview. “We connect trade buyers directly with people who make wonderful products around the world. It’s really hard for manufacturers to have a presence in trade, and trade is how you get in front of customers. What really needed some loving, to let the industry flourish, was this pain point in the middle.”
Oxford Capital, Talis Capital, Samos Investments and LocalGlobe, Canvas Ventures, and a number of backers including Guy Hands, the founder of Terra Firma Capital Partners, participated in the funding round.