Cofounders Jen Rubio and Steph Korey built online luggage retailer Away into a $1.4 billion company in just three years. Next up, it wants to be a 'travel brand.'

jen rubio and steph korey

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.”

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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.

The Runway CEO throws serious shade at profitless tech behemoths:
‘I haven’t been given the permission or privilege to lose a billion
every quarter’

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Source: FS – All – Economy – News
Cofounders Jen Rubio and Steph Korey built online luggage retailer Away into a .4 billion company in just three years. Next up, it wants to be a 'travel brand.'