an online luggage seller,
announced Wednesday it raised $100 million at $1.4 valuation
just three years after it was
founded by Jen Rubio and Steph Korey.
- Away is the most recent female-founded company that has
been valued at or above $1 billion in recent months, including
skincare and makeup company Glossier and Jennifer Hyman’s
clothing rental company Rent the Runway.
- Rubio told Business Insider the surge in larger funding
rounds and valuations for female-founded companies is encouraging
for other women and minorities who are typically “underestimated or
overlooked” by investors.
- According to Rubio, the new funding will help her team
expand into apparel, accessories, and wellness
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Insider’s homepage for more stories.
When Jen Rubio and Steph Korey
started online luggage retailer Away in February 2016, they had
modest ambitions. The pair developed
a suitcase with a battery to charge mobile devices, and
launched a website to sell it.
Three years later,
Away is valued at $1.4 billion, thanks to a $100 million
funding round from Wellington Management Company LLP, Baillie
Gifford, Lone Pine Capital, and Global Founders Capital that was
announced this week. Now, Rubio, Away’s president and chief brand
officer, says that the company has loftier plans in mind.
“When I look back on the early days, I think what fueled our
passion and kept us going was the belief in what we were creating
and how much potential we saw to transform the travel experience,”
Rubio told Business Insider. “We started with luggage, but our
sights have always been set on much more. As the business scales,
so will our ambitions.”
This has already been a blockbuster year for female-founded
startups like Away, which is the fifth women-led company to cross
the $1 billion valuation threshold in 2019.
Skincare and makeup company Glossier was founded by Emily Weiss
in 2014 and
announced a $100 million funding round tied to a valuation
above $1 billion in March. Jennifer Hyman’s clothing rental company
Rent the Runway also reached the
$1 billion valuation mark in March, according to a New York
Times report. Developer startup Confluent and catering startup
ezCater round out the list of female-founded companies that
achieved unicorn status in 2019.
“It has definitely been a big year for women in business—if
Steph and I can be a part of the case study that proves how
valuable it can be to empower and invest in women, I’m all for it,”
Rubio told Business Insider. “I hope this is just the beginning for
us, and for many other women and minorities who have been
underestimated or overlooked.”
The new injection of cash will allow the company to expand
beyond suitcases into a larger “travel brand,” Rubio said. The
company is exploring new products in the apparel, wellness, and
accessories spaces that can help simplify the often mundane travel
“We’re excited to figure out how else we can play a role in
travelers’ journeys, not just focusing on what you use to pack, but
also what you might need to bring with you—this might includes
things like skincare and supplements, or thoughtful apparel for
more comfortable travel,” Rubio said.