Based out of an old bank in Berlin’s notoriously design-conscious Mitte district, just across the road from Soho House, Monoqi offers an online “curated design platform”, with an international team of scouts recommending high-end furniture and accessories, and daily “flash sales” of up to 70 per cent off.
“These special offers are possible because we know and appreciate the designers that we’re introducing,” the website reads – a claim backed up by angel investment in the company from designer Rolf Sachs and film producer Dario Suter, as well as Minimum founder Wilfried Lembert, Tom Tailor founder Michael Rosenblat, former Holtzbrinck chairman Jochen Gutbrod and Christophe Maire, also an investor in Amen and SoundCloud.
Now, German news site Gründerszene (part of the same company as VentureVillage) reports Hasso Plattner Ventures, a German venture capital firm active in Europe and Israel, has joined the party. The size and terms of the investment are undisclosed.
Monoqi is run by former Atlantic Ventures investment manager Simon Fabich, as CEO, (pictured) and Felix Schlegel, as CFO. The third in Monoqi’s founding trio, Sarah Mettler, left in June but will apparently remain a shareholder.
Keeping up with Fab – will good taste be enough?
Monoqi is off to a good start in Berlin at least since going live in February, thanks to its carefully curated selection of products and supporters (Amen’s Felix Petersen and fashion designer Esther Perbandt both signed up to blog in the website’s early days).
But there’s a serious rival to consider – daily design deal pioneer Fab, which raised $105 million in July from Atomico, claims over five million members in 20 countries and expects Europe to account for 20 per cent of its revenue this year. Fab acquired German rival Casacanda in February (just at the time Monoqi started up) and runs a European purchasing team led by ex-Monoqi head of design scouting Tom Claessens in Berlin.
The closure of Rocket Internet’s Fab clone Bamarang in June might be a sign competition in Germany is becoming too hot to handle. Luckily for Monoqi, as with any design-based business, there’s always room for good taste – if you have enough support to pull it off.