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A startup for your mattress: Casper raises $1.6M to reinvent sleep

Above: A preview of Casper

Image Credit: Casper

Meet Casper, the friendly mattress.

Nighttime lifestyle brand Casper is raising $1.6 million from Lerer Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners. The round, which also includes capital from Crosslink Partners, Vaizra Investments, and Correlation Ventures, is a slap in the face to traditional mattress retailers, such as Sleepy’s and Overstock.com.

But first, let’s get something straight: This is a startup that sells mattresses (actually, its store contains just one mattress on launch).

Yes, it raised $1.6 million to sell a mattress. Go forth to our comments and re-declare the tech bubble.

We’re skeptics of Casper ourselves, but the company’s saving grace is simple: Buying a mattress is a pretty crummy experience. The process typically involves haggling with a commissioned salesperson at a tacky, ’80s-carpeted brick and mortar. If you’re lucky, buying a mattress just might involve a hike to Ikea for an affordable fiberboard-bed. [Reporter's note: As an Ikea mattress owner, I can confirm that my back would've never forgiven Sweden had it not been for the delicious meatballs.]

If it’s broke, fix it

While Casper’s journey to success won’t be easy, the tech-meets-lifestyle startup is attempting to take a successful retail model and apply it to an industry that’s horribly stale.

Casper's logo

Above: Casper’s logo

The team, which includes IDEO alum Jeff Chapin and Merrick Group‘s Philip Krim, claims its in-house brand will innovate in terms of both design and delivery.

“The last thing [consumers] want to do is go into Sleepy’s and deal with a salesman,” Krim said.

As for the mattresses themselves, Krim says the company’s debut model will cost between $500 and $1,000. Just like Harry’s and Warby Parker, Krim believes he can challenge the margins of major players, all while building a beloved brand.

Casper launches this spring. If you’re keen to try one now, sign up to beta test a mattress before Casper goes live.

More information:

Lerer Ventures is a seed stage venture capital fund. We invest in founders in the earliest stages of a startup's life. We respect and seek out entrepreneurs with product vision, consumer insight, focused execution, and unwavering ambit... read more »

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