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SHIFT Tech Summit To Highlight Innovation In Home Furnishing

SHIFT Tech Summit To Highlight Innovation In Home Furnishing

Amber Engine — a Detroit startup that in January launched software intended to modernize the home furnishing industry — is hosting about 200 C-level executives from the sector at the SHIFT Tech Summit June 26-28.

Companies who are attending include Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY), Art Van, Gorman’s, BedMart, the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B)-owned Nebraska Furniture Mart, SleepFit, Raymour & Flanigan and Serta.

Speakers include Scott Lange, group creative director at Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL), and Kalin McKenna, the Microsoft Surface lead at Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT).

“As someone who’s been in home furnishings and interior design for more than 20 years, I’ve seen much evolve — and much stay the same,” Amber Engine CEO Jennifer Gilbert said in a statement. “This is our industry’s chance to push the status quo and inspire real change.”

Gilbert previously founded Doodle Home, a company that offers a business-to-business platform for the home and interior design industry. She sold the business to Dering Hall in 2015 and joined the company’s board of directors after the sale. She’s married to Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert, who's among the speakers at the SHIFT Tech Summit.

Bringing Tech To The Furniture Biz

Amber Engine’s software-as-a-service product, which furniture retailers can subscribe to for $349 a month, aims to share information between manufacturers and retailers in real time.

Manufacturers — and their product data — are onboarded for free.

It’s a needed service in an industry that often still relies on paper catalogs that quickly become outdated, said AnnMarie Stenglein, Amber Engine’s vice president of marketing.

A lack of technology in the home furnishing sector means that images and SKU numbers often fall out of date quickly for retailers and customers, she said.

“This is innovation,” Stenglein told Benzinga in Amber Engine’s 44-employee downtown Detroit office. “We’re really trying to get them to shift how they think today to the future.”

At the SHIFT Tech Summit, a “Tech Lounge” segment will include interactive demos with companies such as Marxent Labs — an augmented and virtual reality company — and ONU and Dassault Systèmes, both of which produce 3-D product visuals.

Virtual reality is a key advancement in home furnishing, allowing customers to virtually place furniture in their home and see how it fits together spatially, Stenglein said.

“It helps people to place exactly what their room would look like.”

The SHIFT Tech Summit runs from Monday, June 26 to Wednesday, June 28 at the College for Creative Studies’ Taubman Center in Detroit. The event is invite-only, but those interested in attending may email for more information.

For more information about Amber Engine, visit

Amber Engine CEO Jennifer Gilbert. Courtesy photo.

Posted-In: Amber Engine AnnMarie StengleinNews Events Startups Exclusives Tech Interview Best of Benzinga


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