From a major Houzz acquisition and some magazine drama to new funding for design startups, here are the juiciest bites from the Editor at Large news desk.
1 | Havenly and Homepolish step up their games Online design services aren’t going anywhere: Havenly plans to expand its staff and invest in technology (using its $12.5 million in Series B funding) to better match clients with designers. And Homepolish expands into construction with Build, a new service that pairs clients with vetted contractors, architects and construction specialists based on their renovation needs.
2 | Modsy and Floyd score VC funding Venture capital continues to infuse the design world. Startup Modsy, a digital platform that creates custom 3-D renderings, secured $23 million in Series B funding from Advance Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Comcast Ventures, among others, while online furniture brand Floyd nabbed $5.6 million in Series A funding from La-Z-Boy, Beringea, 14W and Endeavor.
3 | Musical chairs at the Hearst Design Group The Hearst Design Group has tapped Bill Pittel, former advertising director at Architectural Digest, as associate publisher of Elle Decor. Pittel’s predecessor, David Hamilton, moved into a new role as associate publisher of Veranda, which had been open since Katie Brockman departed for Luxe Interiors + Design last summer.
4 | Houzz acquisition dubbed “IvyGate” Once Houzz purchased 2-year-old startup IvyMark, the workflow management system created for designers, a social media storm ensued. Some IvyMark members were upset that their data (including products specified, fees and markups, and clients’ names and addresses) could belong to Houzz. To address members’ concerns, the founders of both companies—Alon Cohen of Houzz and Lee Rotenberg and Alexandra Schinasi of IvyMark—promptly issued a FAQ and announced immediate changes to their practices and policies.
5 | #DoItFor initiative launches The Decorative Furnishings Association’s new website and ad campaign, #DoItFor, officially launched after raising $115,000 from 100-plus members of the design community. The funding supported both the ad campaign and the development of an online portal that matches interior designers with prospective clients. Spearheaded by former DFA president Chad Stark, the initiative encourages consumers to work with professionals instead of attempting to DIY.
6 | Sotheby’s acquires consignment site Viyet Viyet, a digital marketplace for buying and consigning home furnishings, which serves 13 markets in the U.S., was acquired by Sotheby’s in a move to complement the auction house’s private sales and online auctions with more fixed-price options. Viyet’s team, led by CEO Elizabeth Brown, will continue its current business operations, now reporting to the Sotheby’s North American Art and Objects division.
7 | MOD Media shutters New York Spaces Less than a year after acquiring it, MOD Media closed New York Spaces magazine, after allegedly continuing to let its employees work when it knew it didn’t have the money to pay them. In a statement to Editor at Large, MOD Media president Shannon Steitz said the magazine has been forced to “restructure” due to liabilities taken on during the acquisition and clients’ inability to pay bills. She added that MOD Media is exploring options to keep the magazine open, including a failed attempt to offer ownership to the staff.