A short time ago, mattress maker Casper came very close to selling itself out to Target. The deal did not go through — the two sides could not agree to terms. But clearly, as deal fizzles go, it was a friendly one — reports out today indicated that Target is leading an investment round for Casper worth $170 million.
With the funding, Casper has come to Target after all — as of yesterday (June 18), Target began carrying Casper mattresses, pillows and sheets on their shelves and on its website.
The move comes as Casper is trying to eek out a more public profile as it prepares for an eventual IPO.
“The reality that we face is that a vast majority of people don’t know that we exist,” Philip Krim, Casper’s chief executive, said in a telephone interview with The New York Times. Partnering with Target, Mr. Krim said, will help change that.
With the new injection of funding, Casper is scraping at unicorn status with a total valuation of $750 million, according to an unnamed source with information on the deal. Casper’s CEO had no official comment on valuation.
The new financing comes just days after Amazon unveiled a blockbuster $13.4 billion deal to buy Whole Foods Market and Walmart struck an agreement to buy Bonobos, an internet-based men’s clothier.
Caper, insofar as it is seeking an IPO, is unusual among consumer-facing brands of late — though their CEO believes the firm’s brisk growth rate means it is a solid candidate. Sales have doubled over the last year to $200 million (though it is not known if the firm is actually profitable).
Casper has built its branding around simplicity — its main product is a relatively inexpensive memory foam mattress in a box. Customers have 100 days to try out the mattress and can ship it back free for a full refund if it does not work out.
And from Target’s perspective, Casper’s success in building out as an entirely online brand so far is highly valuable — as Target has had some difficulty in navigating retail’s digital reinvention.
“How the two experiences connect together is something we’re focused on at Target, and we believe working with Casper will uncover insights and open up possibilities on both sides,” Brian Cornell, Target’s chief executive, said in a statement. “I think we have a lot to learn from each other along the way.”