i+D - May/June 2021 - 38

The Many Roads to Sourcing - By Anna Zappia
The Future is Now
Founded in 2019, Material Bank was born of a
futuristic idea and has revolutionized the process
of specifying, with help from automatons (yes,
robots). It is the world's largest marketplace for
searching and sampling architectural, design,
and construction materials. Members can search
across hundreds of brands on the website and
receive everything the next day, anywhere in the
continental United States.
" Material Bank has built a powerful solution to a
complex problem by combining technology with
ultrafast logistics, " says Adam Sandow, Material
Bank founder, chairman, and CEO. Sandow,
also chairman and CEO of his namesake media
group, has created a winning formula, with
more than 65,000 members performing almost
700,000 searches a month. The user adoption
rate is impressive and shows no signs of slowing.
Sandow estimates that by 2022, they'll reach a
million designer searches per month.
Material Bank also tripled revenue last year and
just secured $100 million in Series C funding,
placing a value of $1 billion on the company. To
support its growth, the company has opened a
new 380,000-square-foot facility in Mississippi,
five times the size of its original location. This
state-of the-art logistics hub features more than
120 robots to service sample requests.
Material Bank members can
search hundreds of brands and
receive samples the next day in
the continental United States.
(Image: Courtesy of Sandow)
Robotic assistants and one-touch ordering are becoming
the norm rather than a futuristic vision. " We've entered a
fundamental new phase in how business is conducted, "
Sandow adds. " The design industry, like all industries, has
grown accustomed to increased convenience and efficiency.
Our research shows that the majority of designers would prefer
to work remotely, and the past year has proved that so much
of what we do can be conducted virtually. "
In an industry that requires both rapid results and the need
to see, touch, feel, and sit in the goods it will specify, there
is room for everyone. Today's expanded sourcing options
allow designers to discover new products at a trade show,
have samples from multiple vendors quick-shipped from a
central location, and then take their clients to a showroom to
experience the products themselves. Virtual and automated
solutions don't cancel out in-person interactions, but rather
enhance them creating a full-circle approach that leads to
greater confidence when it comes time to buy.
Adam Sandow
(Image: Courtesy
of Sandow)
A native of California, ANNA ZAPPIA has been in
New York City for more than a decade covering a
range of topics from fashion to architecture. She has
provided content and worked on research projects
for Google, Zagat, and Sidewalk Labs. She currently
serves as a contributor to Floor Trends magazine.
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i+D - May/June 2021

i+D - May/June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - May/June 2021

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