Chinese Internet space solution provider inDeco has raised USD 20 million in a Series C round of funding, led by Eight Roads Ventures, industry partners BASF and Saint-Gobain. The deal is also supported by its existing investors, including Source Code Capital and Gaoli Shengzhu Investment.
The design company is now the most-funded Chinese startup in the niche, a market valued at hundreds of billions of yuan, according to its lead investor Eight Roads Ventures.
inDeco' s founder Randy Wan has stated that it signed more contracts in the first quarter of 2020, when the COVID-19 Pandemic was spreading, beating the target the team had set before. "The outbreak has disrupted the regular pace that enterprises adopt, and their efficiency needs have come to the forefront," the founder explained.
There is a growing skills gap in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, which relies on labor heavily and suffers from technology shortages. The advent of digital workflow management and design software providers has opened the gates of the industry, with a previously underserved market segment receiving an influx of resources.
Autodesk, the category leader, is now valued at USD 33.51 billion. Trimble, another one, is valued at USD 8.18 billion.
Facing an acceleration of aging among the population in China, along with increasing marginal management costs, the industry has long been enduring a low profit margin due to diseconomies of scale.
In China, vertical industry competitors include GZY360, a matchmaking business to business (B2B) platform for contractors and subcontractors. It raised tens of millions of yuan last December.
Aiming to improve industry efficiency and fill those gaps and bring better experiences for its clients, inDeco has seen its sales triple in the past three years. The company has a team of 260 employees, 20% of whom are focusing on research and development.
In 2019, inDeco has started to use its internal Building Information Modeling (BIM) system to give AEC professionals the tools to manage design projects online. The one-stop system standardizes quoting, reporting and ordering directly from space plans.
It has also accelerated the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. For instance, during the design process, the system leverages artificial intelligence to recognize photos that describe the client's needs automatically, and decode them into a designer language to accelerate designer works. It then matches furniture fabrics for the design model, considering styles the client prefers.
In the next step, the company aims to permeate through the offline parts of the industry. For instance, 3D scanning technology that saves half of the time and labor than before is one field the company plans to use. Furthermore, in cooperation with BASF and Saint-Gobain, inDeco can also build a wider selection of manufacturer catalogs.