Casper Shuttering European Operations; Slice Raises for Independent Pizza Delivery


The FGB Digest brings you the latest news on the world’s fastest growing direct-to-consumer and challenger brands. In today’s edition: Casper shuttering European operations; Slice raises for independent pizza delivery; and Primer raises as homeschooling demand booms.

Casper shuttering European operations 

Mattress provider Casper Sleep reported a wider-than-expected loss, and is cutting more than 20% of corporate staff and shutting its Europe operations

The net loss widened to USD$34m, from USD$17.3m in the year-earlier quarter. Casper reported a 26% rise in revenue to USD$113m, led by a nearly 13% increase in direct-to-consumer revenue, which totaled USD$90.3m in the period. 

A survey of analysts by FactSet was expecting a per-share loss of 83 cents a share on revenue of USD$110.2m. “Our direct-to-consumer and retail partnership channels both performed well in Q1,” Chief Executive Philip Krim said in a statement. “Further, our e-commerce business exited the first quarter with strong momentum. We achieved preliminary revenue growth of over 15% year-over-year in April, led by e-commerce growth of over 35% and retail partnership growth of over 20%.” 

Casper is reducing its corporate headcount by 78 employees and expects the winding down of its European operations to be complete by the end of the year. The move will reduce Casper’s operating costs by more than USD$10m on an annualised basis. The mattress and bedding company says that its plans to be profitable by mid-2021 are still in place.

Slice raises for independent pizza delivery

Slice, an online ordering and marketing platform for pizzerias, has raised USD$43m. Formerly known as MyPizza, Slice has created a mobile app and website where diners can order a custom pizza delivery from their local, independent pizzeria.

And for those pizzerias, CEO Ilir Sela said Slice helps to digitise their whole business by also creating a website, improving their SEO and even allowing them to benefit from the “economies of scale” of the larger network, through bulk orders of supplies like pizza boxes.

Sela contrasted his company’s approach with other popular food delivery apps that he characterised as aggregators. For one thing, Slice “anchors” your favourite pizzerias in the app, giving them the top spots and making it easy to place your regular order with just a few taps. And it will be adding more loyalty features soon.

“Our job is to make loyal customers even more loyal,” he said. In addition, while there has been services like Grubhub have faced criticism for their steep fees, Sela said Slice’s fee is capped at USD$2.25 per order, allowing pizzerias to get all the upside from large orders.

Primer raises as homeschooling demand booms

Homeschooling startup Primer has raised a USD$3.7m seed round led by Founders Fund. 

As parents across the country are tasked with managing their children’s schooling amid a pandemic, investors are betting on a homeschooling startup that’s aiming to provide parents with services that can simplify the process of giving their kids a tailored education at home.

Founder Ryan Delk says his startup Primer is building the “full-stack infrastructure” that parents need to homeschool their kids.” As of 2016, about 2.4 million kids in the United States are homeschooled. Delk says that he’s been “stunned by the lack of infrastructure” available today for parents interested in homeschooling their kids.

Primer isn’t offering a dedicated curriculum. So far, they’ve been building tools to help parents acquaint themselves with what’s out there. Primer has already rolled out a pair of free homeschooling resources for parents, including Navigator, a tool to help parents stay compliant with state regulations for homeschooling their kids, as well as Primer Library, a collection of free digital instruction materials.

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