NEW YORK, June 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Away, the direct-to-consumer travel brand, announced a $50 million Series C fundraise, one of the largest rounds raised by women founders in 2018. The latest round brings its total funding to $81 million and was led by existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Comcast Ventures.
Since launching in February of 2016 with an initial investment of $2.5 million, Away has become a leader in the $40+ billion dollar global luggage industry and one of the fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands, announcing it reached profitability in under two years, and generating more than five times as much revenue in 2017 as it did in 2016, having sold more than 500,000 suitcases to date.
Away successfully launched with a single product, The Carry-On, but from the beginning, co-founders Jen Rubio and Steph Korey have aimed to create the number one travel brand in the world by focusing on its customer relationships and on building a strong and sustainable financial performance.
"Today's consumers are looking for more than just a great product, they're looking for a brand that aligns with their values and that takes the time to truly understand their needs as people, not just customers," said Jen Rubio, co-founder, President, and Chief Brand Officer. "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."
"We're building 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," said Steph Korey, co-founder and CEO. "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."
With this latest round of funding, Away plans to further establish itself worldwide by extending to new markets; continue to expand its product line to create the one perfect version of everything you need to travel seamlessly; expand its physical retail footprint (opening six new stores by the end of 2018 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-square-foot new Global Headquarters in its hometown of New York City.
"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. "The Away team has proven a rare ability to drive impressive execution while still connecting deeply with their community, as demonstrated by their profitable brick-and-mortar locations in a time when traditional retailers are struggling, their revenue-generating media arm that is shifting long-held notions of what great travel content can look like, and their ability to be nimble and turn potential challenges into brand-defining moments that prove they'll always put their customers first."
"Steph, Jen, and the Away team have recognized the massive opportunity that exists in the travel space since they launched in 2016," said Global Founders Capital Partner Ludwig Ensthaler. "I'm continuing to invest in Away because I believe in their long-term vision. In just two years, they've already transformed how we think about travel."
"Away's capital efficiency is a step up from other brands. Since my first investment, I've seen their average order values increase and significant growth in new and repeat customers, all while cost of acquisition declines," said Daniel Gulati, Partner at Comcast Ventures. "Against this backdrop, Jen and Steph have combined impeccable brand execution with an unparalleled customer-first approach, a rare and truly exciting dynamic. Away will be one to watch for years to come."
Director of Corporate Communications
Away is a modern lifestyle brand creating thoughtful products designed to make travel more seamless. Founded in 2016 by Steph Korey and Jen Rubio, Away designs and sells premium travel goods at an unprecedented price through a direct-to-consumer model. To learn more, visit awaytravel.com.