ufurnish.com Raises the Roof with new Funding

20th March 2023

Posted In: The Interview

ufurnish.com UK’s number 1 search and discovery platform for home furniture and furnishings, which was cofounded by Sligo woman Deirdre McGettrick and husband Ray Wright, has recently raised £3.4m in seed funding following on from a £1.8m pre-seed in 2020. This brings the total funding of the UK company to over £5.2m since the platform launched four years ago.

The announcement was made to coincide with IWD earlier this month and it is refreshing to see so many female investors backing our entrepreneurial duo.

“It feels really important to draw attention to female founders but also to female investors. I am particularly proud that 30% of my investors are females and includes experienced businesswomen who have a strong record in building and growing businesses from whom I can draw down on advice when required,” said Deirdre.

Deirdre has attracted an impressive list of investors, both male and female who have a varied background and bring different insights and value add to ufurnish.com. Among them is Tetrarch Capital’s Ciara McElligott; KPMG’s Michele Connolly and Dubliner Rosaleen Blair of Alexander Mann Solutions.  Other investors include paper and packaging giant, Tony Smurfit of Smurfit Kappa Group and founder of Dalata Hotel Group Pat McCann who is also Chairman of ufurnish.com.

“It is invaluable to be able to reach out and share challenges and opportunities from my business with my investors. Often given their experience, they have insights over and above what I might have considered,” admitted Deirdre.

The UK government Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) has been a big driver in being able to attract investors. “It reduces the risk of investing in early stage companies for investors. As many of my investors are first time investors, being able to explain the tax benefits of EIS investments was key to securing their investment”, acknowledged Deirdre.

Despite women making up nearly a third of business founders (32% of British entrepreneurs are women), the share of capital going to female founders is particularly dismal and has actually decreased in recent years, making up just 1% for female founded companies (see graph).

Image source: Taken from the Atomico State of European Team 2022 Report 2.

Deirdre is keen to share with other female founders that if your product or service is directed towards women, it makes complete sense to have female investors who would be users and therefore advocates for your business.

With women making up 50% of the population, female needs shouldn’t be ignored by investors

Indeed, the inspiration for ufurnish.com came from Deirdre’s personal struggle to find the furniture she wanted for her apartment. I found the experience very frustrating and disconnected. Working long hours, the last thing I wanted to do in the evenings was trawl websites to find the right sofa or bedside cabinet, especially as I kept having to repeatedly input the same search criteria on every website. It was frustrating that the same retailers kept appearing in searches, but I wanted to search all furniture retailers,” she recalled.

Deirdre also found it hard to keep track of products she liked and found herself stuck in a rut of lists, URL links, spreadsheets, and screenshots. She concluded that there had to be a better way to search, discover, compare and shop furniture, which is where the idea for ufurnish.com was born.

Since launching, ufurnish.com has achieved some incredible business successes not least, its 8m website visits. For Deirdre, the latest funding will be used to grow awareness of ufurnish.com as a solution to furniture consumers across the whole of the UK market and expanding the retail partnerships.