Direct to consumer luggage brand Away has raised $50m in a Series C fundraise, one of the largest rounds raised by women founders this year, to enable its global expansion, which will include a new store in London this summer.
The brand, which was founded by Jen Rubio and Steph Korey in 2016 with one single carry-on bag, has gone on to create a full-range of premium quality luggage and travel accessories, with considered details such as build in batteries and chargers and removable laundry bags, at accessible prices.
This latest round of fundraising takes total funds raised so far to $81m and was led by existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Comcast Ventures. The brand is already profitable and generated more than five times as much revenue in 2017 as it did in 2016, having sold more than 500,000 suitcases to date.
Co-founder, President and Chief Brand Officer Jen Rubio said the brand set out to align with its consumers’ values and to understand their needs. “Away launched with the underlying belief that we can change the way people travel by inspiring people to do it more, and by making it even easier. In two years, we’ve built deep relationships with each and every one of our customers as a direct-to-consumer brand, and we’ve used their feedback to drive what’s next for Away. That’s what we’ll continue to do until we’ve fixed everything currently wrong with the travel experience,” Rubio said.
Co-founder and CEO Steph Korey said Away had set out to build a brand for the long term “and to do that we’ve prioritized creating a strong financial foundation and a company that thinks about what we can offer as being so much more than any one product.”
“We’ve embraced change as a constant, used data to inform our intuition, and iterated based on insights from our global community and their unique needs. That combination — and the incredible team we’ve built along the way — has allowed Away to grow at a pace that’s surpassed our wildest expectations,” Korey added.
With this latest round of funding, Away plans to further establish itself worldwide by extending to new markets; continue to expand its product line; expand its physical retail footprint (opening six new stores by the end of 2018 – including one in London – in addition to its current New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Austin locations); build on its existing social impact efforts (through its partnership with Peace Direct and through new initiatives); and create 249 new jobs over the next five years, transitioning the team into a 56,000 sq ft new global headquarters in its hometown of New York.
“Away is a shining example of how the best brands today are developing real relationships with their consumers, offering much more than just great products, but also a feeling of connection and trust that results in what looks more like a friendship than a transaction,” said Eurie Kim, General Partner at Forerunner Ventures.
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