Away is the Latest DTC Unicorn; SoftBank Looks to Grofers for Share of Indian E-commerce

Away CEO

DTC’s Daily Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer brands. In today’s edition: Away is the latest DTC Unicorn; SoftBank looks to Grofers for share of Indian e-commerce; Tavistock launches new DTC app.

Away is the latest DTC Unicorn

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) luggage brand Away on Tuesday announced USD$100m (£78m) in Series D funding, raising the company’s valuation to USD$1.4bn (£1.1bn). The new valuation grants Away unicorn status, joining DTCs like Glossier, Casper, and Rent the Runway, in that category.

Away plans to use the infusion to expand its product line in existing categories, as well as launch products in apparel, wellness and lifestyle accessories; grow its brick-and-mortar footprint with 50 new stores in the next three years; and help with the brand’s international expansion plans. The company is using the funding in part to expand beyond the 39 countries where it sells, with plans to grow the international business ten-fold over the next three years.

The investment round was led by Wellington Management Company, and also included Baillie Gifford, Lone Pine Capital and Global Founders Capital. The fresh funding brings Away’s total funding to USD$156m (£122m). According to the company, Away reached USD$12m (£9m) in sales in its first year, hit USD$150m (£117m) in 2018 and is projected to double its sales in 2019.

SoftBank looks to Grofers for share of Indian e-commerce

Indian delivery startup Grofers has raised USD$200m (£156m) in Series F funding from SoftBank. The startup has raised a total of USD$441.8m (£334m), according to Crunchbase.

Grofers is an online grocer; however, it also sells household, baby care, and pet care products. It then delivers those products to residents of Mumbai, Pune, Kanpur, and Delhli, among many others.

It’s an interesting investment for SoftBank to make, given that another player, BigBasket, has just raised USD$150m (£117m), while the presence of market leader Flipkart means that there is stiff competition to the Indian e-commerce industry. Grofers appears to be a small player in the market in terms of capital infusion.

However, it’s also possible that the Indian grocery and delivery market is capable of sustaining a number of large players given the sheer market size, and SoftBank believes there are plenty of returns to be had in owning a slice of the pie. Either way, with the backing of a player like SoftBank, there is a good chance that Grofers will begin to make more of a mark upon Indian e-commerce.

Tavistock launches new DTC app

Tavistock Wealth, a UK financial services firm which manages over £1bn in client assets, has released a smartphone app for customers giving them direct access to their funds.

The product, called i-stock, will be accessible without the assistance of a financial adviser, and is going to be available on every type of electronic device as well as on the firm’s website. The app and website would allow clients to open ISAs and general investment accounts as well as receive daily updates on the value of their investments.

Launching a direct-to-consumer app seems like a sensible move for a wealth management business. It should mean that they can embed themselves as part of the clients’ everyday habits, whereas before they would check their Tavistock account more sparingly.

Tavistock is also working towards opening access to the app to the financial advice firm Lighthouse or any of its affinity group partners, as it holds 5.3% of Tavistock shares.