No matter if you’ve signed a mortgage or a short-term lease, it’s natural to want your house to feel like a home. For someone like Chan Park, who’s lived in five countries and “countless apartments,” that feeling can be ever so elusive.
Originally from Korea, he moved to the US when he was 12—first to Minnesota, followed by high school in New Jersey and college in New Hampshire. After graduating, Park moved to New York and later Utah, eventually moving to Asia for a position with Uber. In a Medium post, he recalled feeling at home in only two of those places: his childhood home in New Jersey, where his parents took care of the interior design; and his most recent apartment in Singapore, which was a furnished place targeted specifically to expats.
“I went from picking up the keys to fully settled in 20 minutes flat,” he wrote. “I hadn’t expected much from a furnished apartment halfway across the world from home, but the interior design was elegant and comfortable with thoughtful attention to detail.”
He thought that others may have a similar dilemma: wanting to feel at home, yet not wanting to deal with the hassle and costs involved with decorating an apartment. Searching for furniture, trips to IKEA and home improvement stores, weighing the costs of brand-new expensive items or taking a shot on Craig’s List—all of these tasks involve time, energy and money that short-term rental tenants don’t usually have.
“The feeling of home is something that everyone deserves, regardless of whether you plan to be there for 6 months or 6 years,” he said in a statement. “I had just accepted that if I moved around so much, it wasn’t worth it to invest in nice things for my space. The thought of picking out new furniture for each move that fit my apartment, coordinating the logistics of delivery and assembly around my busy schedule, and the high upfront costs didn’t make sense when I didn’t know where I would be in one year.”
As such, he founded Oliver Space to make the home decorating process cheaper, easier and less of a hassle.
A furniture subscription service, Oliver Space offers a “hyper-personalised” experience to put together a fully stylised room in as little as 15 minutes. First, users collaborate with the customer experience team and choose whatever they need to create their ideal home with “moodboards,” video calls and more. The company’s low monthly fee will either go towards renting the pieces or eventually owning them; they can also buy smaller items upfront if desired, such as pillows or plants. Then, Oliver Space will deliver and assemble the room for no additional cost.
At the end of the subscription, customers can return the items to the company, renew the monthly subscription or keep the pieces by paying off the difference. If they move to another place, they can return the pieces and pick new ones for their new home.
Founded earlier this year, the startup has raised $6.8 million in seed funding. Oliver Space officially launched in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the seed funding will support the company’s expansion to more cities.
The funding round was led by Mayfield Fund, with participation from Abstract Ventures. Several individual investors and executives also contributed, including Jana Messerschmidt, April Underwood, Julia and Kevin Hartz, Michael Ovitz, Eric Wu and several of Park’s former colleagues at Uber.
“As our desires and expectations for a well-designed living space have only increased, there has been no change in the drudgery and hassle required to attempt to create that environment for young families and professionals,” said Rishi Garg, a partner at Mayfield Fund.
“Chan’s vision of a world free of wasteful and painful IKEA trips and moving boxes, with flexible, well-designed spaces available for all at the push of a button, has captivated us from the beginning and we’re proud to back him and his team on such an important journey.”