22 July 2024, 21:42
By Furniture News Mar 08, 2023

Search platform raises extra funds and celebrates female investors

Search and discovery platform for home furniture and furnishings ufurnish.com has raised £3.4m in seed funding following on from a £1.8m pre-seed in 2020 – bringing the total funding received since the platform launched to over £5.2m. 

The announcement has been made on International Women’s Day. Deirdre Mc Gettrick, the founder of ufurnish.com, comments: “It feels really important to draw attention to female founders but also to female investors. I am particularly proud that 30% of my investors are females and include experienced businesswomen who have a strong record in building and growing businesses from whom I can draw down on advice when required.” 

These investors include Amanda Burton, Camelia Robu (Macquarie Capital), Caroline Worboys, Ciara McElligott (Tetrarch Capital), Jenn Engelhardt (Latham & Watkins), Michele Connolly (KPMG), Rosaleen Blair (Alexander Mann Solutions) and Sara Sullivan (Angel Academe). 

Deirdre continues: “It is invaluable to be able to reach out and share challenges and opportunities from my business with my investors. Often, given their experience, they have insights over and above what I might have considered.”

Being a tech company, Deirdre is very cognisant that most tech investors are male, making up over 70% of her cap table – but says that does not mean one cannot attract a balanced investor profile. 

The government Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) has been a big driver in being able to attract investors. Deirdre notes, “it reduces the risk of investing in early stage companies for investors. As many of my investors are first time investors, being able to explain the tax benefits of EIS investments was key to securing their investment”. 

Despite women making up nearly a third of business founders (32% of British entrepreneurs are women), the share of capital going to female founders actually decreased in recent years, making up just 1% for female-founded companies. 

Deirdre is keen to share with other female founders that if your product or service is directed towards women, it makes complete sense to have female investors who would be users and therefore advocates for your business.

Indeed, the inspiration for ufurnish.com came from Deirdre’s personal struggle to find the furniture she wanted for her apartment. As Deirdre recalls: "I found the experience very frustrating and disconnected. Working long hours, the last thing I wanted to do in the evenings was trawl websites to find the right sofa or bedside cabinet, especially as I kept having to repeatedly input the same search criteria on every website. It was frustrating that the same retailers kept appearing in searches, but I wanted to search all furniture retailers."

The latest funding round will be used to grow awareness of ufurnish.com as a solution to furniture consumers across the UK market, and expanding its retail partnerships.

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