Luggage startup Away inks $2.5 mln


New York-based luggage startup Away has secured $2.5 million in seed funding. Forerunner Ventures and Accel Partners led the round.

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New York-based startup Away, a direct-to-consumer luggage brand founded by two early Warby Parker executives, is announcing $2.5M in a seed round co-led by Forerunner Ventures and Accel Partners.

Away is building a luggage brand for the modern consumer while providing value through a direct-to-consumer distribution model. With this model, Away plans to offer high-quality luggage at a more affordable price point. “High-quality luggage made of top-of-the-line materials typically costs customers over $500 due to multiple markups for wholesalers and retailers. By going directly to the consumer, the way Warby Parker did for eyewear and Casper did for mattresses, we can offer a $500+ product for a fraction of the price,” says co-founder Stephanie Korey, who previously worked at both startups.

Away is filling a gap in the travel goods market for a modern brand. “There are few luggage brands on the market with the modern consumer in mind. We’re excited to innovate on not just the product and price, but also on the consumer experience: from discovery to the online shopping experience to offline touchpoints like pop-up retail and lifestyle partnerships,” says co-founder Jen Rubio.

Away’s luggage has a sleek, minimal aesthetic and was designed by Bret Recor and Seth Murray, formerly of Yves Behar’s fuseproject. The luggage includes select tech features, such as a built-in battery charger for charging devices while on the go.

The luggage industry is a $32 billion market. Market incumbents Samsonite and Tumi together sold nearly $3 billion of luggage in 2014.

The round was co-led by Eurie Kim at Forerunner Ventures and Brian O’Malley at Accel Partners. Notable angel investors include Andy Dunn, founder of Bonobos; fashion designer Steven Alan; Brian Lee, co-founder and CEO of The Honest Company; and Jeff Kearl of Skullcandy and Stance, investing alongside Will Smith and Jay-Z.

Co-founders and co-CEOs Jen Rubio and Stephanie Korey respectively ran social media and supply chain at Warby Parker in its early years. Warby Parker co-founders Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa serve on Away’s advisory board.

Away will launch in late 2015.

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