If you’ve ever renovated a house, you’ve suffered through the ordeal of getting custom-made cabinets, a costly and lengthy process that involves rounds of back-and-forth with dealers and designers taking up to half-a-year to complete.
Now, a California-based startup, Ronbow, wants to shorten delivery times and reduce the costs of customized cabinets with its proprietary design and manufacturing software. The four-year-old company recently landed a $10.5 million Series A round led by Celtic House Asia Partners to add more showroom locations.
Other investors from the round included AME Cloud Ventures, a fund started by Yahoo founder Jerry Yang; Harpers Investments; Haiping Jin, the founder of Telenav; Weili Dai, co-founder of Marvel; and Ming Zeng, former chief strategic officer at Alibaba.
Ronbow’s CEO and founder Jason Chen worked in home luxury for over two decades, targeting mostly B2B clients, before moving into the startup world. Rather than taking the common route of designed-in-Europe, made-in-Asia and export-to-America, Ronbow is designing and making its furniture in the U.S.
“In 2019, we changed our mind because everything was different,” the founder told TechCrunch, referring to the increasing supply chain uncertainty triggered by the U.S.-China trade war. “On the U.S. side, supply chains were going to be a big issue when the U.S. had issues with China. A fully custom product line was so expensive here with a long lead time that we figured there was an opportunity for us.”
Ronbow offers what it calls an “end-to-end” solution that allows customers to connect directly with manufacturers, doing away with the middlemen who used to help pass on design files to factories. This is how it works: The startup’s design platform first helps customers figure out the style and size of cabinets they want. Then it feeds that information into the cutting machines equipped with Ronbow’s software, which drives the whole production process.
The benefits of data-driven manufacturing are obvious. According to Chen, Ronbow can reduce completion time by 90% to deliver products in as little as three to six weeks and cut costs by 40% compared to the traditional, manual practice.
Ronbow is projecting revenue of more than $10 million this year, and aims to open 10 showrooms. Most of its existing user base of about 1,000 customers are in California, ranging from middle-class homeowners, professionals like real-estate agents and designers, as well as commercial clients like hotels and developers. It aims to operate 30 showrooms by 2024, when it expects to see annual revenue of $50 million to $60 million.