The wedding planning business is big business. In the U.S. last year, there were 2,172,503 weddings, with the average special day costing $26,645. And that’s before the honeymoon begins.
But within the planning, there is registering for gifts and the couple’s future together.
Certain investors are aware and clearly seem to want in on the business potential. This week, wedding registry startup Zola landed $25 million in investments. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the funding round.
The startup was founded by Shan-Lyn Ma, who noticed the demand for a registry product and the interest in cutting costs, especially when it comes to vendors who would prefer to ship the gifts straight to the couple in a direct-to-consumer fashion. This would beat out the competition — traditional retailers many with brick-and-mortar storefronts — that was seeing fewer millennial couples walking into their stores.
Founded in 2013, Zola offers the couples to pick and choose from products — 40,000 of them — while also accepting cash for experiences together. The direct-to-consumer model allows for Zola to reel in about 40 percent of the gifts that are purchased through its site.
Over the next year, Zola is predicted to register more than $120 million in gross sales while spending only $10 million over the previous three years. The 52-person company, according to Ma, will likely expand by over a dozen more employees in 2017. She says it will also direct the money to marketing and making it a household name. The plans may also include brick-and-mortar stores in select cities so that couples can touch and feel products should they be interested.
Lightspeed has been behind startups like Stitch Fix and Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company. The $25 million investment includes adding Lightspeed’s partner Alex Taussing to the Zola board.