New Models for the Apartment Dweller

We cover plenty of SaaS companies on these pages. So when we read a note about a company called Nickson, we figured it was within earshot of our coverage. Nickson is a furniture-as-a-service (FaaS) start-up launched in 2017 by a former real executive. 

Founder Cameron Johnson believed the model had promise. He had seen plenty of renters who wished they could rent the model apartment furniture. After all, moving is a total hassle and requires logistics coordination. So from this insight he launched Nickson in Dallas. 

Move-in Ready in Three Hours

Nickson is not just about the big pieces of furniture — beds, sofas, tables. It’s also about the extension cords, pots and pans, and silverware. The company suggests that in a matter of three hours users can make their space ready to move into shape. 

The solution points users to take a survey and a rough layout of the apartment. Then the Nickson designers — we assume they’re real people — create a furniture layout based on information the renter provided. This might mean the renter is going to work from home or perhaps there’s a baby in the mix. After a draft layout is completed and the renter has signed off on it, Nickson then creates a custom design. 

Founder and CEO Johnson said this about the business. “I thought ‘What if you gave people the ability to simply rent the model, or the ability to add everything in their space needs with a few clicks, similar to how a cable modem comes to your house, I wondered, ‘Why can’t we do that for everything else?’”

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SaaS Pricing for Real Furniture

A lot like software, upon signing up users pay a one-time installation fee and then a monthly subscription for the duration of the lease. According to the company, a monthly fee can range from $199 for a studio to $500 a month for a three-bedroom apartment. And just like good SaaS models, there are ways to move the renter up the spending curve with add-ons such as supply starter kit and housekeeping services. 

Unless you live in Dallas, for now, you’ll have to do it yourself. Over the next couple of months, the company will expand to other cities in Texas including Austin and Houston. The company landed a series A round of $12 million to expand the service’s coverage area and services set. 

We think this model appeals to a generation that is often dependent upon new-age solution providers — be it prepared food delivery or groceries or pre-planned menus. You can all fill in the brand names.

This same generation has been trained to sign up for monthly services and Nickson should appeal to them. We’d expect if Nickson can gain some significant momentum, it would be a great target for the likes of IKEA or Target. Investors in the company like its approach for delivering a turnkey solution instead of a piecemeal model that competitors offer. Those competitors include Furnish and Oliver.

CEO Johnson puts it this way. “No other competitor in this space offers this level of service, detail, or turnaround, you can literally arrive at your new home with a suitcase and toothbrush, and it’s ready to ‘live in.’”

We’re eager to see how the FaaS model develops and if it can be executed at scale. To us, that seems daunting but moving often feels that way too. 

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