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Houzz makes play for S’pore’s S$10b home-design market

SINGAPORE — Houzz Inc, the Sequoia Capital-backed American start-up that connects homeowners with designers and contractors, is bringing its service to Singapore to try to capture a slice of the S$10 billion local remodelling market.

Houzz is hoping to provide a discussion forum and online bazaar for Singaporeans looking to improve their homes in one of the world’s most expensive property markets. TODAY file photo

Houzz is hoping to provide a discussion forum and online bazaar for Singaporeans looking to improve their homes in one of the world’s most expensive property markets. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Houzz Inc, the Sequoia Capital-backed American start-up that connects homeowners with designers and contractors, is bringing its service to Singapore to try to capture a slice of the S$10 billion local remodelling market.

It has started a dedicated website and mobile app for the affluent city-state, the third country it has entered in the Asia-Pacific, alongside Australia and Japan. About 150,000 people on the South-east Asian island of 5.7 million already view its photo-rich site every month, according to Houzz co-founder and CEO Adi Tatarko.

Houzz hopes to provide a discussion forum and online bazaar for Singaporeans looking to improve their homes in one of the world’s most expensive property markets, she said.

“Asia presents an enormous opportunity for Houzz,” said Ms Tatarko, who spoke at the Tech in Asia conference in Singapore yesterday. “In many countries across the region, the home renovation industry is largely fragmented, as it was in the US prior to Houzz.”

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Palo Alto, California-based Houzz got its start as a side project for Ms Tatarko and husband Alon Cohen in 2009. After the frustrating process of renovating their new house, the couple decided to create an online marketplace for remodelling.

The project started with just 20 parents from their children’s school and a few architects and designers from the Bay Area around San Francisco, according to Ms Tatarko. Today, it has more than 40 million monthly unique users and more than 1 million active home-design professionals, from London to Australia. Houzz was valued at US$2.3 billion (S$3.1 billion) in a September 2014 funding round, said data-tracker CB Insights. It has offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo.

Houzz’s international expansion comes as several home-improvement start-ups “from Kluje in Singapore to HomeLane and Houzify in India” have sprung up in recent years. The US home-remodelling market is worth US$300 billion, according to a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. BLOOMBERG

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