- A platform for property owners to view portfolios of interior designers then request for free quotations
- Set to become a total solutions provider for home renovation and improvement
Atap.co is poised to become Malaysia’s go-to web platform for renovation and home improvement solutions. Launched in 2016, the fast-growing platform that connects property owners to interior designers garners monthly page views in the millions (2.7 million in December 2017) and has over 560,000 website users.
The platform features the portfolios of over 1000 local interior designers so property owners can browse photos of completed renovation projects and request for free quotations from interior designers they like. Alternatively, they can send a general request to receive free quotations from interior designers on Atap.co which match their project requirements.
Atap.co is a useful marketplace for both property owners and interior designers alike. While property owners don’t have to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations which might be limited or don’t match their renovation requirements (e.g. budget, location, and expertise), interior designers can trust that every quotation request made through the platform is personally verified. Atap.co’s support team calls the owners of quote requests to get more information on their renovation requirements and to verify the accuracy of the information provided. Only verified quote requests are published on the Lead Marketplace where interior designers can choose to “unlock” the contact details of property owners they want to get in touch with.
Unlike other platforms on the market, this pay-per-lead model allows interior designers to make informed decisions on how they spend their money (or in Atap.co’s case, pre-purchased credits) to bid for renovation projects that meet their requirements. The success of such a model is evident in Atap.co healthy numbers. Within a year of launching its interior designer-sourcing feature, the company garnered RM922,500 in revenue (2017 financial year). Atap.co has also been well received by property owners and website users; as of December 2017, it received 1572 quote requests worth RM229 million.
Besides credit packages to interior designers, Atap.co garners revenue from two other sources: the custom website offering and branding packages. The former is a subscription service where interior designers can easily customise their own websites (with their chosen domain names) which are maintained by Atap.co. Meanwhile, the latter is priority listing on Atap.co’s interior designer search pages and content coverage on the company’s website and social media.
A total solutions platform for home renovation and improvement
At the moment, Atap.co offers useful features for interior designers, property owners, and interior enthusiasts. Interior designers enjoy useful tools such as the customisable profile, portfolio, and custom websites which allow them to manage their own digital marketing while enabling easy uploads of their latest projects. Besides that, the Lead Marketplace allows interior designers to browse for quotation requests that suit their preferences, while the Lead Management feature is a CRM tool for sorting leads into various stages of the pipeline (opened, contacted, responded, lost, and won).
Meanwhile, property owners and interior enthusiasts can get interior inspiration from the ‘Browse Ideas’ tab and save their favourite images into individual albums. For more interior ideas and home improvement tips, the articles in the ‘Expert Tips’ tab will prove useful.
Having said that, the plan for Atap.co is much grander. Fully realised, the platform will benefit and service multiple stakeholders within the home renovation and improvement environment: interior designers, property developers, home retail merchants, property owners, and interior enthusiasts.
In 2018, Atap.co will introduce more exciting features for interior designers and property owners. Firstly, the Escrow service which will collect staged payments for interior design projects, ensuring that interior designers are paid in full when projects are completed while property owners’ requirements are met before final payments are made. Concurrently, interior designers will be insured up to RM300,000 for third-party physical injury claims or property damage liabilities.
Besides that, Atap.co will organise an Interior Designer Awards Ceremony and distribute a corresponding magazine, an effort that will be sponsored by home retail and lifestyle brands.
The platform will also add property developer profiles in 2018. They will include project details and description along with 3D renderings of fully designed units by select Atap.co's interior designers. These designs will differ from the showrooms, so users can better visualise the property when fully designed, optimising the buyer purchase decision process for both the property and the hiring of interior designers.
In the third quarter of 2018, the interior designers on Atap.co will begin offering renovation packages so property owners can look forward to package options for smaller budgets and simpler projects.
In 2019, the company plans for even bigger things. It will introduce an e-commerce marketplace where home retail merchants can sell furniture, décor, and home improvement items. It will then offer custom websites with a 3D visualiser. With these, home retail merchants can customise their own websites, hosted and maintained by Atap.co. The 3D visualiser will allow shoppers on both the merchant’s site and on Atap.co’s e-commerce marketplace to view those items in virtual reality.
Upon the success of this fully-realised platform, Atap.co plans to expand to Thailand and Indonesia in the year 2020.
Burgeoning market within Malaysia and Southeast Asia
In observing the incremental trends for property purchase, Atap.co is set for growth. The total addressable market size for current and upcoming Atap.co products and offerings in Malaysia is estimated at 182.4 million Ringgit in 2017, and is expected to increase to RM493.3 million in 2020. The estimated total addressable market for Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia was RM676.7 million in 2017, and is expected to boom to RM1.787 billion in 2020.
Dynamic duo founders with a prolific investor
Along with the platform’s growing number of interior designers, users, and features since launch in April 2016, the team has expanded from four to 14 employees, with two founders. The founding duo Shen Maosheng (pix, seated) and Seow Yao Han (pix) are no strangers to starting up an online platform.
In 2012, the pair built the car review site Live Life Drive sans funding and sold it at a valuation of RM6.5 million to iCar Asia after a mere 4 months of launch. The site recorded over 400% growth in the year 2012, racking up 272,000 monthly users at the end of that year, placing Live Life Drive as the second most popular car website in Malaysia that year.
Backing the duo up is investor and advisor Tan Swee Yeong, a serial entrepreneur and angel investor in many local startups. Tan has seen multiple successful early stage investments such as UnrealMind (exited), Propwall/iBilik/CarSifu (exited), Hermo (exited), DeliverEat (seed), Hermiso (seed), and many more.