The startup world has officially zeroed in on it’s next target for disruption: the mattress industry. If NYC-based startup Casper Sleep has it’s way, soon you won’t have to travel to a mattress store, lie down briefly on a bunch of different beds, and have a salesman breathe down your neck and pressure you into buying something. Instead, they’ll ship it to you in a box, and let you try it out for 40 days before you commit.
The idea is that by selling online and shipping to consumers directly, Casper effectively cuts out the middle man, thereby avoiding markups needed to cover things like overhead, distributor fees, and commissions. This allows them to sell high-quaility memory-foam-like mattresses at a fraction of what you’d pay through a traditional mattress store. The company’s beds, which come in everything from twin to California king, sell for between $500 to $950 depending on the size you choose.
And with Casper’s clever packaging/shipping process, they also spare you the trouble of strapping a mattress to the roof of your car to get it home. The company makes its products with a specially-engineered type of foam that can be compressed and vacuum-sealed for shipping, but will expand and support your weight once it’s out of the packaging.
If you think that’s pretty slick, you’re not alone. VC’s love the idea too. Casper announced this week that it’s raised $1.6 million in seed funding from various venture capital firms across the country. The round was led by Lerer Ventures, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners, Crosslink Partners, Vaizra Investments, and Correlation Ventures.
All that extra cash will definitely help Casper expand its operations, but it’ll have to overcome more than just finances if it wants to be the new King of Mattress Mountain. The company faces some pretty stiff competition from AZ-based startup Tuft & Needle – a company that’s been running on basically the exact same business model for the past two years, and is already well-established. Tuft & Needle’s selection of bed sizes isn’t quite as extensive as Casper’s (for now), but it’s beds are considerably cheaper. A 10-inch queen size bed from T&N will put you back $500, whereas a Casper mattress of the same size costs $850.
It’s too early to call who will come out on top, but we can say with a fair measure of certainty that, in a few years time, traditional brick-and-mortar mattress stores will most definitely end up on bottom.
[top image via Business Insider]