Japan’s connected furniture startup Kamarq snags $3.2M to manufacture ‘smart’ tables



See the original story in Japanese.

Kamarq Holdings is a startup to offer the high quality and connected furniture brand Kamarq. The company recently announced on Thursday that it has secured a total of about 350 million yen (about $3.2 million) from Energy & Environment Investment, Saison Ventures, iSGS Investment Works as well as angel investors. Saison Ventures is the investment arm of Japanese leading credit card company Credit Saison (TSE:8253). The funds will be used for product development, systems development or human resources.

Coinciding with this funding, the firm also announced the launch of its first product called Sound Table, and started accepting pre-orders on the Makuake crowdfunding site. The backers can receive the product before the day of general release, and can purchase it at 80% of the normal price. Sound Table is a wooden IoT (Internet of Things) table capable of playing music or environmental sounds in accordance with the weather, controllable with a mobile app. It offers a product line-up of two types of dining table, low table and bedside table in three colors each.

Dining table
Low table
Bedside table
Power source and USB sockets on table top plate

In our previous interview with Kamarq CEO founder and CEO Ken Machino last year, he  indicated that he wanted to develop a voting platform for furniture design availed by the public, and a ‘smartdoor’ which implements sensors or devices for Internet connection. Starting with this Sound Table, a variety of IoT furniture products will be released in the future.

In Indonesia, custom-made furniture e-commerce site Fabelio, which targets the expanding middle-income segment, had succeeded in fundraising in February. Although the targeted market differs a bit, the needs for high quality furniture have been rapidly increasing. If defining IKEA or Nitori (Japan’s major furniture retailer chain) as fast fashion-like SPA (Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel) in the furniture industry, Kamarq or Fabelio may be considered as the third-wave SPA. Like the innovative designfinder platform for shoes Rooy, which recently expanded into Japan from Seattle, a cooperative business with distribution channels to conventional face-to-face sales players may be expected in the furniture industry, portending a new trend.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy