US architecture and design materials marketplace Material Bank has acquired UK interior design procurement firm Clippings.
The American firm has bought 100 per cent of the London-based company for an undisclosed sum in a move that it claims will help transform the design sector via technology.
"This sector is one of the few remaining sectors that really has not been touched significantly by technology," Clippings executive chairman and co-founder Adel Zakout told Dezeen.
"If you kind of zoom out and look at the way business is done in the design, real estate and construction sector, it's still a very low single-digit percentage that goes through some kind of online presence."
"So I think there's this huge, huge opportunity in this industry."
Acquisition comes after Material Bank raises $100 million
Material Bank, which currently only operates in the USA and Canada, provides architects and designers with a one-stop shop for material samples.
Founded in 2019, the service is free to designers and promises next-day delivery for samples of fabrics, finishes, tiles and other materials ordered via the Material Bank website.
Samples are picked and packed by robots and humans at Material Bank's vast distribution warehouse at Olive Branch, Mississippi. The company raised $100 million in a funding round in May this year, valuing it at almost $1 billion.
Material Bank was founded by Adam Sandow, an entrepreneur who also owns Sandow Media, which acquired Metropolis magazine in 2019 and took over the management of New York's NYCxDesign festival in 2020.
"Both businesses historically have tried to really leverage technology to create a better experience in this industry, especially in the purchasing process, by enabling all the different stakeholders to connect online through technology," Zakout said.
"So we're incredibly excited about the fact that we're able to join forces and really do more together."
Clippings acquisition "key driver" for overseas expansion
Clippings, founded by former Architecture Association students Zakout and Tom Mallory in 2014, allows architects and interior designers to specify products including furniture and lighting.
It also provides design brands with e-commerce solutions, allowing them to build their own online marketplaces. In April this year, it worked with Herman Miller (now MillerKnoll following its acquisition of Knoll) to launch Herman Miller Professional.
The service allows small and medium-sized customers to build project boards online and order Herman Miller products at preferential rates.
“Clippings has made significant advances in the way architects and designers specify in Europe," said Sandow, who is CEO of Material Bank.
"With 70 per cent of revenue coming from the UK, and offices in London and Bulgaria, this acquisition will be a key driver as Material Bank expands its footprint overseas."
"The complex multi-billion-dollar design industry is one of the last to be digitally transformed," said Material Bank.
"Material Bank and Clippings are driving advancements through a powerful blend of innovation and technology, delivering modern solutions for streamlining the entire design process."
Images courtesy of Clippings and Material Bank.