How Female-Led Away Became A $1.4 Billion Direct-To-Consumer Travel Brand In 3 Years

By Amit Chowdhry ● May 20, 2019

Direct-to-consumer travel brand Away recently raised a $100 million Series D round of funding at a $1.4 billion valuation. Launched only three years ago, Away has grown at a lightning pace.

This new round of funding was led by Wellington Management. Baillie Gifford, Lone Pine Capital, and early investor Global Founders Capital also participated in this round. Including this round, Away has raised $156 million in total funding.

Away hit $12 million in sales in its first year. And then it saw $150 million in 2018 sales. This year, Away’s sales are expected to double.

Away founders chief brand officer Jen Rubio and CEO Steph Korey founded the company with a vision of transforming the travel industry. After the company’s first product called The Carry-On took off, Rubio and Korey built on that momentum with a number of other products and experiences. Prior to launching Away, Rubio and Korey both worked at Warby Parker

“Every journey begins with a suitcase, including ours. We launched with that one product in 2016 and quickly set our sights on building a brand that stands for the transformative power of travel. This new capital will further fuel our plans to fully build a global community of passionate travelers, and equip them with every product they need to travel more seamlessly,” said Rubio.

With this funding round, Away is planning to expand the ways it improves travel by expanding its product line, growing its physical retail footprint, and fueling international expansion. For the product line, Away is going to offer more options within existing categories and develop travel products in new categories like apparel, wellness, and lifestyle accessories. And it is going to grow its physical retail footprint by creating retail experiences in the US and abroad (50 new stores over the next 3 years in addition to existing locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, Boston, and London). And the plans for international expansion expands further establishing itself beyond the 39 countries where Away products are currently available. The plan is to grow its international business 10X over the next 3 years.

“We’ve been focused on building not just a beloved and quickly-growing brand, but also on building a strong financial foundation. With highly profitable unit economics in place both online and offline, the business is primed for strategic expansion across new products, stores, and geographies,” added Korey.

With a valuation of more than $1 billion, Away has gained “unicorn” status. And it is also the most recent female-led company to achieve more than a $1 billion valuation in the last few months. Others that have achieved this include ezCater, Confluent, Glossier and Rent the Runway. Away is also backed by Forerunner Ventures, Accel, Battery Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, and Kode With Klossy founder Karlie Kloss.

Featured Image via British Airways – Traveling #From BtoA on YouTube