Luggage brand Away is reportedly considering a sale and other strategic options.
Bloomberg reported Monday (Feb. 13) that the firm was valued at $1.45 billion in 2019 but that it’s not clear what price it could command today, were it to choose to be sold.
The firm is working with an adviser to identify potential buyers, according to the report, which cited unnamed sources.
Away did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.
The firm was founded with luggage that featured a chic-looking polycarbonate exterior, an internal compression system and a built-in, high-capacity USB charger.
With a price of $225, they solved two common problems for travelers — the high cost of luggage and the low availability of outlets in airports — PYMNTS reported in 2016.
After launching two larger sizes of suitcases and using a direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model to keep prices under $300, the firm raised $8.5 million in Series A funding that year, bringing its total amount of venture funding to $11 million at the time.
In April 2020, when the pandemic brought travel to a standstill, Away furloughed about half its team and laid off another 10%. Sales of its products had dropped by 90% since the start of the pandemic, the company said at the time.
Ten months later, in February 2021, Away opened a brick-and-mortar location in Seattle, bringing to 13 the number of physical stores it had in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
At the time, the New York City-based firm said it also shipped merchandise to 40 nations around the globe.
“While the world may not be traveling right now, I am excited for what the future will hold,” Away President of International and Senior Vice President of Retail Roy Chan said upon the opening of the Seattle location.
Today, businesses are returning to traveling, though their travel volume is not yet back to where it was before COVID.
The amount of money spent on business travel by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) has rebounded to 80% of pre-pandemic levels, while travel by global and multinational firms is at 61%, The Wall Street Journal reported in January, citing figures from Amex Global Business Travel (GBT).