Nestopia: The startup that binds together Virtual Reality and interior design

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Founded in 2013 by CEO Harsh Jain, Nestopia is a start-to-finish interior design and build service provider. By offering turnkey interior design services for residential and commercial projects, Nestopia aims to integrate technology, service, design thinking and project management. The company has facilitated Rs 2000 crore worth of project inquiries in the last 12 months. Nestopia aims to complete 5000 projects every year by next five years. Its parent company is Mumbai-based Century Infotech Pvt Ltd. Jain talks to Tech2 about the whole idea behind the startup and how they plan to sustain and grow further.

What is the story behind settling down with offering interior design management services?

In spite of India having a large community of interior designers, architects and contractors, the dynamic and unorganised nature of the industry has made it difficult for customers to find design ideas, hire professionals, buy quality products and complete the project in a structured manner. Similarly there is no formal market or platform where professionals can find the right project that matched their experience and execute it seamlessly. This is due to the lack of organised and planned framework in the industry. Nestopia was founded to fill this gap in the interior design and decor industry and organise the entire procedure.

We realised a major pain point of customers and professionals was the execution of the project as per expectations. As multiple stakeholders (space owners, interior designers, architects, contractors, etc.) are involved in a project with a long duration of time, stakeholders face difficulties at each stage of the project. Today Nestopia takes complete charge of an interior design project and has created a specialised management system to ensure that all operations of the project are automated, from idea to the final execution.

How big is your team? How do you sustain this business model?

Currently, we are a team of 25, based in Mumbai and we plan on expanding our team size in the near future. We currently have 15 interior designers in Mumbai. Each designer can complete up to 10 projects in a year and therefore our current capacity is to complete 150 projects a year.

How are you making your services easy to use for the consumer?

The first step to any interior project is estimating how much the project will cost and setting a budget accordingly. Estimating costs includes taking into account design costs, labour costs, material costs, etc. and it can be quite tricky. To make it simpler, Nestopia has come up with a Cost Estimator for all types of interior projects. Nestopia’s Cost Estimator takes into consideration both material and installation costs to give customers an estimated figure. The costs provided on the estimator are regularly updated by industry experts to include newer materials and ascertain the current costs.

Nestopia’s Style Finder tool can assess users’ interior style preferences based on their personality. Customers are asked some specific questions regarding their choice of patterns, flooring, material, texture, furniture, clothing collection, pet/child preference, shades and angles. Based on the answers, their unique technology not only shows the design of client’s preferred house but also their personality. It is a combination of technology, aesthetics and psychology. Depending on client’s personality they work with the space owner to build their space. Style Finder helps designers to understand clients and design and build their space matching their likes, lifestyle and personality.

We have a dedicated team of account managers and supervisors that keep customers updated about the progress of project through a detailed real-time management dashboard and provide constant monitoring and customer support.

The platform uses Virtual Reality (VR) tool to give customers a picture of their residential or commercial space before beginning the execution of the project.

Our website is available for space owners to use our Cost Estimator and Style Finder tools. They can also get a detailed understanding of our services and past projects. We are in the process of developing a mobile app for customers.

Could you share details about the funding raised till now? What do you foresee in terms of funding for the future?

Nestopia received $ 0.75 million (Rs. 4.5 crore) as its seed funding from Century Plyboards India Limited in March 2015. We are looking to raise $ 5 million (Rs 30 crore) in Series A round in 2016.

What are your growth plans and roadmap for the near future? How do you plan to widen your reach?

We are currently working on projects in Mumbai and Pune. We will be soon expanding to Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Delhi. We have curated a network of professionals and will soon work on customer acquisition in these cities. Our target till April 2016 is to facilitate 10 crore worth of projects. By the end of this year, we aim at completing 50 projects worth Rs. 250 crore. The platform aims to complete 5000 projects every year by next five years.

What sets you apart from other similar offerings?

There are players in the interior design industry who cater to specific aspects or functions of home designing, but no player has the exact business model as ours. None of the players are catering to start to finish execution of a project i.e. design, civil, material and labour. Nestopia is one of a kind interior design and build service provider that offers complete turnkey interior design services and we are the sole point of contact for all customer needs. Our specialised management systems ensure that all projects executed by Nestopia are optimised for efficiency, transparency and quality. We scrutinise and curate the finest team of designers, project managers and consultants that offer experiential interior design solution unlike any other.

Nestopia practices service design thinking and aims to create a hassle-free experience of furbishing a space while ensuring quality control.

The year 2016 is believed to give a big push into VR, and some startups (Homelane, Commonfloor) have already started implementing it. What are your plans/thoughts about VR in home decor or real estate?

The home design and decor market in India is likely to grow to over $ 45 billion by 2017, out of which 4-5 per cent of the companies are likely to enter the technology space. Evolution of residential design has completely changed the “design experience” for consumers as well as professionals. Virtual Reality tool in interior design allows professionals to virtually place objects in the project space to get a better understanding of the final design. Whether this is simply placing new seating or curtains in a room or completely overhauling an entire property, Nestopia looks to bring a more realistic viewpoint to interior design. Virtually, users can experiment with various patterns, colours, textures, material and product options to get an actual feel of placement, space utilisation and theme in their ‘real’ living environment. Space owners are able to enjoy a full 360 view of their space, while glancing around the room also allows them to place objects where they want and continue building the design until it matches their requirements.

There’s more than just brochures, floor plan charts and booklets to aid customers design their home. Integration of technological advances by Nestopia like Style Finder, Real-Time Dashboard, Cost Estimator and Virtual Reality are helping to ease the process of interior designing and building. These technology tools empower end consumers to visualise and explore designs for their space using an intuitive process.

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