During COVID New Yorkers have been forced to contemplate their living arrangements and decide whether to stay or go. For the millions of New Yorkers that rent, that means embarking on the daunting moving process — figuring out what to do with all your big-items and furniture. Conjure (formerly Mobley) was designed specifically with New Yorkers in mind, offering a flexible furniture rental model that gives customers access to designer-curated furniture pieces and home accessories for 3-12 months. The service also includes free assembly and delivery as well as the option to trade-in, purchase, or return pieces at the end of the lease term. The Conjure Marketplace appeals to a variety of tastes and its “Bazaar” offers unique home accessories and small collector items. The company also partners with designers to curate special, limited editions pieces.

AlleyWatch caught up with COO and Cofounder Aditya Khilnani to learn more about how Conjure impacts the home décor industry, makes designer furniture accessible, and the company’s recent funding.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

$9M in Seed funding led by Pillar VC, RiverPark Ventures, and CoVenture.

Tell us about the product or service that Conjure offers.

Conjure offers furniture and home accessory rental leases for 3-12 months and can bring any unfurnished living room, dining room, bedroom, or office to life with free assembly and delivery.

What inspired the start of Conjure?

Having firsthand experience with frustrating and exhausting moving processes, Daniel Ramirez and I founded Conjure to create a sustainable, affordable solution to this painful process with a simplified and design-centric approach.

How is Conjure different?

Conjure is pioneering a flexible ownership model for our customers, giving them the options to trade-in their pieces, purchase them outright, or return them at the end of their lease. We are also the only furniture rental company that partners with designers to curate special, limited edition collections, offering style and quality in a flexible rental model. In addition to furniture, we just recently launched a new section on our website called the “Bazaar,” a curated marketplace of unique home accessories and small collector items.

What market does Conjure target and how big is it?

Conjure was created first and foremost with renters in mind, specifically in New York City, where there are approximately 5.4 million renters. We currently deliver to the greater NYC Metro area, including all of Long Island, and parts of New Jersey, southern Connecticut, and southern New York State. The free delivery zone includes all five boroughs of NYC, and the Newark, NJ Metro Area. With this latest round of funding, we plan to expand delivery outside of the current service areas to other bustling cities where renters need affordable and stylish furniture options.

What’s your business model?

Designer-curated furniture for every room in the house that’s available for rent on 3-12 month leases, with the option to trade-in, purchase outright, or return at the end of a lease.

How has COVID-19 impacted the business?

Conjure is committed to keeping our customers and drivers safe. In early March, operations across the company were completely paused to evaluate cleaning and sanitation procedures going forward. We have since implemented precautionary safety measures for deliveries in line with all CDC, WHO, and NYC guidelines to keep its customers and employees safe.

What was the funding process like?
There were highs and lows. But overall, it was an incredible learning opportunity to meet so many intelligent investors and former entrepreneurs who provided feedback on our business model. Most importantly, it was incredibly humbling when they believed in our vision and it was reassuring to see such strong interest in our offering with an oversubscribed round.

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

Going into the fundraising process, we believed there was a gap in the market for design-focused, well-curated, yet accessible furniture rental. With neither of us having a design background and the product not fully developed, explaining our differentiation in a 30-minute initial pitch meeting, often with somebody you’ve never met, was tough at first. We strongly believed in our mission and had positive early proof of concept to back it up, so fortunately everything worked out.

With neither of us having a design background and the product not fully developed, explaining our differentiation in a 30-minute initial pitch meeting, often with somebody you’ve never met, was tough at first. We strongly believed in our mission and had positive early proof of concept to back it up, so fortunately everything worked out.

The business was also operating in peak season during the fundraising process and so managing smooth operations while fundraising when a team of 3 people was a challenge, but fortunately, we have an amazing team member (Kimberly Hengel) who steered the ship.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We have a unique and capital-efficient operating and financing model that enables us to scale quickly and expand into new markets. My cofounder, Daniel Ramirez, and I also have different but complementary skill sets.

We both share the same vision to create a product and customer experience that makes people want to rent furniture, not just need to rent for the convenience factor. This is why we invested heavily in curating unique collections and working with talented artists.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

We’re in a super exciting position to start scaling. The entire team worked tirelessly over the past year to develop the product, digital experience and operational infrastructure so that our focus area can now shift to growth. We’re aiming to triple our existing customer base, expand into at least one new city, and continue broadening our offering of unique furniture and home accessories.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Be scrappy. Think of organic methods to acquire customers. Put a strong focus on unit economics and operational excellence. With these foundations, I believe the company will have better success to raise capital.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

We want to continue working with amazing artists to curate beautiful and accessible pieces that make our customers excited to live in their homes, especially given the amount of time people are spending there.

We want to continue working with amazing artists to curate beautiful and accessible pieces that make our customers excited to live in their homes, especially given the amount of time people are spending there.

As a strong believer that our environment has the power to shape our mood, our offering is a small step towards a brighter day in these challenging times.
We were fortunate to work with Adam Charlap Hyman, our design consultant, to curate the first Conjure collections inspired by different New York City neighborhoods and set a high bar for new collections to come.

What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC

Fish Cheeks. The staff is super friendly and the spicy coconut crab curry is a must-try.


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