A HOME furnishings start-up launched by Irishwoman Deirdre McGettick has now raised more than £5million in seed funding.
Ufurnish.com, the brainchild of the Sligo native and her husband Ray, was founded in 2019 from their London home.
Since then it has grown steadily to become the UK’s top search and discovery platform for home furniture and furnishings.
This month Ms McGettrick confirmed that the firm has raised £3.4million in seed funding following on from a £1.8million pre-seed in 2020 - bringing the total funding to over £5.2million since the platform launched.
Announcing their achievement, Ms McGettrick said: “It feels really important to draw attention to female founders but also to female investors.
“I am particularly proud that 30 per cent 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.”
Ms McGettrick has attracted an impressive list of investors, both male and female, over the years, who have a varied background and therefore “bring different insights and value add to ufurnish.com”.
They include, Amanda Burton, a portfolio non-executive director, Camelia Robu, the Head of Leveraged Finance EMEA at Macquarie Capital, and Caroline Worboys - founder of data company HDM Worboys, which she sold to News International.
“It is invaluable to be able to reach out and share challenges and opportunities from my business with my investors,” MS McGettrick said.
“Often given their experience, they have insights over and above what I might have considered”.
Being a tech company, the Irishwoman is very cognisant that most tech investors are male, making up over 70 per cent of her cap table, but claims that doesn’t mean you can’t attract a balanced investor profile.
Among her male backers are Darren Ryemill who sold Opus Talent Solutions to Graphite Capital, Tony Smurfit, CEO of paper and packaging giant Smurfit Kappa Group, and Pat McCann, former CEO of Jury’s Hotel Group and founder of the Dalata Hotel Group, who is the Chairman of ufurnish.com.
The government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) has also been a big driver in ufurnish.com being able to attract investors, McGettrick admits.
“It reduces the risk of investing in early stage companies for investors,” she says.
“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”.