By Nadine Freischlad
Fabelio offers custom furniture for the Indonesian market from local designers. It currently has a free delivery service and a two-week return policy. Fabelio also positions itself as a business-to-business service, offering a personal assistant and a free interior design consultation for those seeking to furnish an entire office space or restaurant.
In Southeast Asia, Fabelio co-founder and CEO Krishnan Menon previously worked for Freecharge, Lazada Indonesia, and Zalora. Christian Sutardi is another name that local tech entrepreneurs may recognize. He is the co-founder of Fabelio and has a long history in Indonesia’s startup ecosystem. Starting out as part of the Foodpanda team in 2012, he went on to start a beauty box company, Lolabox, which failed and shut down in May 2014. He then became an associate at Monk’s Hill Ventures, before setting out to build Fabelio. The other two co-founders are Marshall Utoyo, one of the proprietors of the popular Jakarta co-working space Conclave, and Srinivas Sista, who has previously worked with Lazada Indonesia and the Lazada Group.
The furniture startup faces some competitors in Indonesia, among them East Ventures-backed Livaza, BeliFurniture, FurnishLab, and Kikayu (Disclosure: East Ventures also invests in Tech in Asia. See our ethics page).
However, Fabelio believes the market in Southeast Asia is still a blue ocean, with opportunities for those who move fast and aggressively. In a statement, the company points to emerging markets like India and Brazil, where furniture startups like Urban Ladder (India) and Oppa (Brazil) were able to attract prominent investors such as Sequoia Capital and Peter Thiel.
The company sees Indonesia as a potential hub of quality furniture craftsmanship, with the advantage of low labor costs. According to the firm, the archipelago so far lacks a platform for designers and consumers to meet. Fabelio seeks to bridge this gap by inviting designers to display and sell their work through the website, while Fabelio handles the production and distribution.
The furniture and homeware market in Indonesia is a sizable and growing market. According to Fabelio, retail research agency Conlumino projects that the Indonesian furniture market will reach US$5.5 billion by 2018. The company claims to have more than 350 unique product listings (SKUs) on its website, and intends to offer more than 2,000 products by end of the year. Fabelio’s ambition is to also take Indonesian furniture to foreign markets, such as Singapore, Thailand and Australia.
Editing by Leighton Cosseboom