Travel brand and direct-to-consumer luggage company Away closed on a $20 million Series B funding round.Leading the round was Global Founders Capital, who also led Away’s Series A round in September 2016. Other investors in the Series B are existing investors from the Series A round, Forerunner Ventures and Accel Partners, which co-led the Series A round.Away has raised a total of $31 million, including the $2.5 million seed round in August 2015.Away was cofounded by Steph Korey, chief executive officer, and Jen Rubio, creative director. Both are alumni of Warby Parker.Ludwig Ensthaler, a director at Global Founders and an Away board member, said, “Steph and Jen’s approach to building Away is changing the way people travel. Their use of data and technology — not just the consumer-facing product, but across the entire back-end of the company — [and] their inherent understanding of brand, [as well as] their commitment to talent and culture have made Away a standout from the beginning, and the growth numbers back it up.”Away introduced its first product, a carry-on, in February 2016. The company subsequently added two checked bags, suitcases in medium and large sizes, in June, followed by a bigger version of the carry-on in October. The carry-ons have a battery pack built-in for charging electronic devices, and are available at $225 and $245, while the checked bags are $275 and $295.According to Korey, consumers who fly mostly domestic carriers typically prefer the larger carry-on, whereas the small one is for regional airlines with smaller overhead capacity, as well as most international flights.Since the introduction of its first carry-on, Away has had more than $20 million in sales, selling almost 100,000 suitcases. The company, which is based in New York and has 66 employees, is expected to be profitable by year-end.Brian O’Malley, a partner at Accel Partners, said, “What has been so impressive with Away is the efficiency with which they’re growing. Profitability in year two is almost unheard of and something that takes real operating excellence to achieve.”Korey said the latest funding round will allow the company to expand into new product categories, add physical stores and new marketing ventures such as media plays online and in print, and a podcast.According to Korey, the typical consumer is between ages 20 and 40, and lives “overwhelmingly in the 10 to 12 biggest metro areas in the U.S.”While the ceo didn’t disclose timing of the new product categories, she said they would be items place inside the suitcase or other things one needs while at the airport. The company isn’t planning on adding any new suitcases to the line.What will be new are more brick-and-mortar stores. It already has one on Crosby Street in SoHo following a pop-up to test the market and plans to add one store each in Los Angeles and in San Francisco this summer. After those stores open, Away plans on opening locations in overseas markets, mostly likely in London and Berlin, where it has tested pop-ups before.
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