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.
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.
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 »
Casper is an early-stage sleep technology startup based in NoHo, New York City. We obsessively engineer sleep products for young professionals. At our core, we are dedicated to celebrating the unconscious third of your life.... read more »
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