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Designing the Future of Work: Our Seed in Canoa

The Eclipse team is thrilled to lead Canoa's $8.7M seed round in partnership with TMV, Building Ventures, and Gemini.

  • May 10, 2022
  • 3 min read

By: Matt Mulvey

Today, the Eclipse team is excited to announce our partnership with Canoa to accelerate its mission to decarbonize cities by fundamentally changing the way businesses design, shop and manage their workspaces. We are thrilled to lead the company’s $8.7M seed round in partnership with TMV, Building Ventures, and Gemini.

Canoa, a B2B design marketplace for a more planet-friendly workplace, is redefining how we manage physical spaces. Even before the pandemic, the traditional way businesses designed, shopped and managed their workspaces was broken. Like many other industries, the pandemic made it even clearer that something needed to change and has forced businesses to completely restructure how they think about where and how their teams do their best work. Though this is a big — and hard! — shift for many businesses, it is an exciting opportunity for drastic improvements in the way we conceive our physical space. Canoa disrupts and dismantles the traditional process by enabling a digital end-to-end design and purchasing journey in less than two weeks as opposed to the offline status-quo that would take months. For the first time, there’s one uniform digital journey for designing and purchasing all the elements in commercial buildings and offices. Canoa streamlines the process so that customers only need to interact with the Canoa platform versus interacting with numerous different constituents across suppliers, brokers, designers, and fulfillment/installation partners on a one-off basis. Additionally, office managers can discover emerging and hallmark brands, interact with designers, see different layouts (and see them on their actual floor plans), and purchase with one checkout all in the Canoa marketplace.

In the post-Covid era, three attributes have emerged as requirements for internal workplace teams: speed, flexibility, and sustainability. Canoa’s platform is the only design tool with an embedded furniture marketplace of new and second hand goods. By using Canoa, businesses can quickly deploy new spaces and over time, transition from a linear consumption model to a circular one, which extends the useful life of an asset through reuse and resell. There’s two pros to this. First, the original owners of the furniture will avoid liquidating the asset and getting cents on the dollar and will have the ability to resell for a much higher return on investment. Secondly, and more importantly, this will extend the life of the furniture and help perfectly good furniture avoid going to the landfill. For context, more than 50% of landfill waste comes from demolition waste, the vast majority from the endless cycle of construction and demolition of interior commercial spaces. By enabling companies to design for reuse, buy from reputable sources, and track the entire process so that goods can be reused, Canoa is transforming how businesses operate and contribute towards a low waste and low carbon future.

When the Eclipse team first met Federico Negro, Co-Founder and CEO of Canoa, and Ellie Cunningham, Co-Founder and COO of Canoa, we were immediately drawn to their authenticity. Fed started a design firm called CASE where he lived the old way of doing things like negotiating contracts with suppliers through manual processes. After seven years, his firm was acquired by WeWork where he became the VP of Global Design for the company and met Ellie. At WeWork, Ellie was the Global Head of Strategy for international development, a 2K+ organization inside of the company, and worked directly with Fed and Fortune 1000 companies and fast growing startups to help them optimize their physical spaces. When they both eventually left WeWork, they knew the model was broken in multiple ways and something needed to change. They set out to create a platform where the customer was the focus of the actual business versus the suppliers, the pricing was transparent, and there was a focus on the environment. It was very clear to the Eclipse team that Ellie and Fed not only understand the nuances and challenges facing the furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) industry, but both are also incredibly passionate about the opportunity at hand from an ESG perspective. 

Since we invested late last year, Canoa has grown 10x and has landed major customers like Palo Alto Networks, Miro, Daybase, Pernod Ricard, NewRez and more. Internally, Canoa added to its ranks by bringing on Alma Lopez-Moses and Liz Wert to head up its creative and brand team. The Canoa team has also set its sights on launching their inaugural show at the Milan Furniture Fair in June to showcase 15 emerging American designers. This fair is a celebration of design by designers and will enable Canoa to continue to build its community of users, partners, affiliates, and more.

As companies figure out the world of hybrid work, investing in physical spaces will become increasingly important. For example, Google has committed to spend $9.6B on revamping its data centers and offices with the belief that “doing so will make for better products, a greater quality of life for our employees and stronger communities.” On a larger scale, as the great refactoring of our cities continues, the way we experience and utilize space for work is at the core of the conversation of what our cities will look like and how they will operate in this post-pandemic era. When it comes to the sustainability conversation, the world of FF&E has been a glaring blindspot — one we no longer can afford to look the other way on. The Eclipse team believes Canoa will be central to transforming the FF&E industry and ultimately, will play a significant role in decarbonizing our cities. 

Congratulations to Fed, Ellie, and the entire Canoa team!

For more on today’s news from Canoa’s Co-Founder and CEO, Federico Negro

Follow Eclipse Ventures on LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest on the Industrial Evolution.

Tags
  • Canoa
  • Fundraising
  • Hybrid work
  • marketplace
  • Portfolio

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