MakeDirect Turns $2M Series A Round from DFJ into a Fresh Start

5/23/12Follow @jpruth

Taking another crack at building a company, Duy Huynh thinks MakeDirect, his latest New York-based startup, can scale up quickly by breaking old traditions in manufacturing. The company’s e-commerce site lets consumers buy furniture direct from the factory, but moreover, Huynh is shaking up his own strategy to exploit opportunities for growth. MakeDirect’s site launched earlier this month with a $2 million Series A round of funding from DFJ VinaCapital, part of the Draper Fisher Jurvetson investing network.

The website offers deals on furniture such as $199 for a rocking chaise lounge chair originally priced at $398. MakeDirect currently offers 10 to 20 items on its website that rotate about every two weeks. Huynh says he plans to pick up the pace with items changing every week. Rather than offer a broader mix of products, he says the company for now is focused on building up sales volume on targeted items. MakeDirect works largely with manufacturers from overseas because of the higher costs charged by many domestic producers.

In a short time, Huynh has adapted his company to address some unexpected challenges. Originally founded in January under the name Shared Production, the company focused on attracting small retailers to use the platform to buy products, furniture in particular, directly from manufacturers. Removing distributors, exporters, and other middlemen from the equation can cut down prices. However Huynh ran into resistance when he tried to change the traditional ways of some retailers. “You’re pitching to a different generation,” Huynh says. “We feel there is a lot of room for technology to improve the supply chain and production.”

Seeing more prospects in the consumer market, Huynh shifted his company’s focus … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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