RHL Ventures invests in interior design marketplace Atap.co

  • To develop a physical experience centre in Petaling Jaya
  • Has listed nearly 3,000 renovation jobs with a budget value of US$101 million

 

Atap.co founders Shen Maosheng (standing, 2nd right) and Seow Yao Han (seated, 3rd left) with their team

MALAYSIA-based private investment firm RHL Ventures on Feb 1  announced that it is investing in Atap.co, an online marketplace for interior designer sourcing and hiring as well as a digital publisher for interior design and home and living content.

The investment will be used by Atap.co to solidify its market presence in Malaysia, which includes the development of a physical experience centre in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.

Atap.co was founded in 2015 by Shen Maosheng and Seow Yao Han, both of whom are tech entrepreneurs who created the automotive review website Live Life Drive which was acquired by the regional car selling platform iCar Asia in 2013.

Atap.co is Shen’s and Seow’s most immediate venture following Live Life Drive and was created to help consolidate the fragmented interior designer and architect market in Malaysia via a proprietary online platform that links them to customers, namely home- and office-owners.

“In today’s market, those in need of interior design work would typically look to the internet only to find that their search lists are dominated by large and expensive firms that can afford to maintain an online presence,” said Shen.

“We therefore created Atap.co to match up-and-coming interior design businesses in Malaysia with prospecLve clients leads, which our in-house technologies help verify to ensure that the leads are genuine and not automated.”

Atap.co founders Shen Maosheng (seated) and Seow Yao HanSince 2014, it is estimated that the building sector in Malaysia has experienced an 8.7% growth, with 70% of projects being carried out by the private sector. This has helped to foster the tremendous growth of interior design and decorators in the nation, however the sector’s potential has not been fully realised as many designers – especially those in the B2C segment – still rely on word of mouth to land projects.

“We decided to back Atap.co as they are helping to bring in much-need innovation in Malaysia’s interior design market,” said RHL Ventures managing partner Rachel Lau.

“Maosheng, Yao Han and their team are helping to highlight the breadth of talent possessed by our homegrown designers – which we consider as having the potential to stand toe-to-toe with their international peers.”

From beginning Atap.co with just two people, Shen and Seow have grown their team to 16 people; comprising professionals within IT, sales & marketing as well as an in-house content team. To date, as many as 1,580 interior designers have been utilising the Atap.co platform; with project and photo listings numbered at 2,481 and 26,911 respectively.

Over the past two years, Atap.co – via its Leads Marketplace – has listed nearly 3,000 renovation jobs which have carried a budget value of US$101 million (RM415 million). During this period, the website has drawn in 480,000 average monthly site visitors.

With assistance from RHL Ventures, the company plans to launch a physical experience centre in Petaling Jaya to raise the level of immersion for prospective interior design customers.

The venture is part of the company’s strategy to entrench its position in Malaysia – which will see it extend its interior design network in the Klang Valley and Johor before entering Penang in the immediate future. The company also has a long-term view to expand its services across Southeast Asia.

 
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