The Cofounders of Hotwire Are Taking On Craigslist

Gregg Brockway and Eric GrosseGregg Brockway (left) and Eric Grosse

Photo: Business Insider

The cofounders of Hotwire, Gregg Brockway and Eric Grosse, are together again for a new startup, thanks to Brockway’s wife, Anna.It’s an online furniture-consignment store called Chairish launching today.

The idea for came after Brockway left his other travel startup, TripIt, which was acquired by Concur Technologies in 2011 for $120 million.

He and Anna moved to a new home and some of their furniture didn’t fit. It was too nice to sell on Craigslist and it was too much of a hassle to schlep it to a consignment store.

His old Hotwire friend, Grosse, was looking for his next gig, working as an entrepreneur-in-residence for Matrix Partners.

At the urging of Anna, an interior designer, and with her as a cofounder, the Hotwire team  gave birth to a high-end, online consignment furniture store.

Chairish is no Craigslist. It’s choosy about the furniture it accepts into its store. It also edits photos, writes product descriptions, and arranges deliveries for 20% fee.

For a 40% fee, it will come to your house and do all the work, including storing the furniture off site.

Chairish hopes to as addictive for interior-design buffs as ModCloth is for vintage fashionistas.

It’s likely to be a success. The home-furnishings market is huge, some $90 billion, says Grosse. Plus, the two have come a long way since Hotwire, which they sold to IAC in 2003 for $663 million. (Hotwire is now part of IAC spinoff Expedia.)

“Hotwire was a fantastic experience,” says Brockway. “We raised $75 million in its first round, hired 100 people and grew as quickly as we could. It was complete and utter chaos.”

In contrast, Chairish is self-funded, has fewer than 10 employees, and has caused “a lot less drama.”

The home-furnishings and -decoration market is hot. Houzz, a site for planning redecoration and renovation projects, raised $35 million last month. And Fab and One Kings Lane have collectively raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

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