With just one suitcase and a duffel bag, 29-year-old Mahi Malhotra (name changed on request) boarded the flight from New Delhi to Bengaluru to start a new phase in her life. She had landed herself a coveted job at one of India's leading IT companies, which meant uprooting herself from the city she had called home all her life. Two weeks later, she had found herself a new house in an upmarket gated society. But there was a catch. She had neither any furniture nor money to buy one after paying the atrocious security deposit for the flat.
Yet within hours of moving into her new house, four men were busy unpacking and assembling a new queen-sized bed in her bedroom while two others were installing a fridge in the kitchen. Barely 30 minutes since they rang the bell, Malhotra's room was all set with her bed complete with a mattress, bedsheet and a pair of pillows. The fridge was working with a pair of ice cube trays already set to chill in the freezer and she had no cleaning up to do. The men had taken away all the packaging material that came with the furniture. All this cost Malhotra just Rs 2,500 ($37) a month, thanks to Furlenco.
Malhotra is one of the 6,000 customers across Bengaluru, Mumbai and Pune that rent furniture from Furlenco, a Bengaluru-based startup. While there have been startups like Urban Ladder and Pepperfry in the furniture space in India, Furlenco differentiates itself by catering only to the renting market. The company designs and manufactures its own furniture and targets what its founder Ajith Mohan Karimpana calls "urban aspirers".
"Furniture cannot be an asset unless you have any family heirloom," Karimpana tells
Furlenco is targeting young professionals like Malhotra, who have jobs that make them shift cities and who don't want to have the hassle of buying furniture and moving it all over the country. "Why would you want to live with the same furniture when you can keep changing it every few months?" he asks.
Furlenco, which raised $6 million funding in its Series A round in 2015, offers users a variety of packages according to their needs. For instance, there is a bedroom package that offer a queen bed with pillows, a study table, a table lamp, a chair, a bedside table and a cane laundry basket for Rs 2,250 ($33) a month. Or you could choose from "The Good Life" store that offers customized packages for those into reading, or watching television and much more. The Entertainment Package, for example, comes with a three seater couch, a center table, a 39-inch LED TV, a rug, an 80 liter mini fridge, two cushions, and a floor lamp. All this for just Rs 2,499 ($37) a month!
Furlenco designs and manufactures its own furniture to ensure it is easy to assemble and take apart with no wear and tear. It uses high quality wood, which can be easily mended with a round of polishing. Yes, once people return the furniture, Furlenco fixes it and circulates it again. "The thing is you won't even come to know whether it is a brand new bed or not," Karimpana says.
Apart from renting furniture, the young startup wants to take care of the entire experience during the lifetime of the user's subscription. If you happen to shift houses, Furlenco will shift its furniture at no extra cost, even if it means shifting to a different city as long as it is one of the three where it currently operates.
It is still early days for Furlenco, which plans to launch in more cities in India. But competition is stiff with the likes of Accel Partners and IDG Ventures funded Rentomojo that also have a similar furniture rental model and is available in all the markets where Furlenco operates along with New Delhi and its suburbs. Then there are others like Cityfurnish that not only offers furniture on rent but also offers fitness equipment as well as home appliances.