Direct-to-consumer (DTC) luggage brand Away on Tuesday announced $100 million in Series D funding, raising the company's valuation to $1.4 billion, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive.
Away plans to use the infusion to expand its product line in existing categories, as well as launch products in apparel, wellness and lifestyle accessories; grow its brick-and-mortar footprint with 50 new stores in the next three years; and help with the brand's international expansion plans.
The investment round was led by Wellington Management Company, and also included Baillie Gifford, Lone Pine Capital and Global Founders Capital. The fresh $100 million brings Away's total funding to $156 million.
Away has officially joined the ranks of an increasingly large group of retail startups now basking in the glow of unicorn status. Earlier this year, Glossier, Casper and Rent the Runway all broke into that territory, highlighting a group of DTC brands that have struck a chord with consumers, and have the profits to show for it.
According to the company, Away reached $12 million in sales in its first year, hit $150 million in 2018 and is projected to double its sales in 2019. The company's ambitious expansion plans are in line with goals the founders have had for some time now, and reflect the path that many other DTC brands are taking as well.
Casper, for example, doesn't want shoppers to think of it as just a mattress company, but rather a sleep company. Hence, the launch of pillows and smart nightlights and anything else that says 'sleep' to customers. Likewise, Away's plans are focused around the idea of forming a lifestyle travel brand, which ostensibly will include everything from luggage to cozy plane wear.
As is fitting for a travel brand, that vision stretches much further than the U.S. The company is using the funding in part to expand beyond the 39 countries where it sells, "with plans to grow the international business 10X over the next three years."
"Every journey begins with a suitcase, including ours. We launched with that one product in 2016 and quickly set our sights on building a brand that stands for the transformative power of travel," Jen Rubio, co-founder and chief brand officer of Away, said in a statement. "This new capital will further fuel our plans to fully build a global community of passionate travelers, and equip them with every product they need to travel more seamlessly."
While unicorn status sets Away apart from others for now, funding activity in the DTC space hasn't been slow, and many other brands have built up capital this year, including FabFitFun, ThirdLove and Billie.