Nightmare is a word used to describe a lot of things that aren't actual nightmares.
A bad vacation, check. A challenging holiday visit with family, check. Or shopping for a mattress at a traditional bedding store, double-check, according to Philip Krim, Casper Sleep CEO and one of five founders of the four-year-old online startup.
Thanks to unpleasant mattress-shopping experiences and a wealth of ideas having to do with sleep science, mattress materials and common sense, the quintet came up with the idea of selling mattresses and other bedding online that can be shipped in a box to a customer's door. The company isn't strictly online these days, though. It has 20 physical stores and is adding 200 more over the next three years in the U.S. and Canada. It also sells mattresses through Target Inc. (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report and Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) - Get Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN) Report .
Krim spoke with TheStreet about the mattress sector, the company's funding and how to get a solid night of shuteye.
TheStreet: What's the retail mattress space like?
Philip Krim: One of the things missing from this industry was a palatable way to shop for mattresses. It was one of the worst consumer experiences, because customers had to deal with a commissioned salesperson and slippery sales tactics. We reinvented the entire experience and went direct to the consumer. Even in our stores, it's a different experience, where customers can find a sense of community.
TheStreet: The company Mattress Firm (MFRM) , which has 3,500 locations, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Has your success as an online retailer helped speed the demise of such bricks-and-mortar retailers?
Krim: We're not out doing what we do because we are trying to bring on the demise of anything. My view of the broader retail landscape is if you're not providing a unique product and a great consumer experience, then you're just going to have a tough go at it. That's in any retail category.
TheStreet: It's been rumored that Target is going to acquire Casper. Any truth?
Krim: There were rumors about it a year ago, but after meeting with Target CEO Brian Cornell and CFO Cathy Smith, we decided it was better to partner. As part of our Series C round of funding, Target invested $75 million.
TheStreet: How much did you raise altogether and who were your other investors?
Krim: All told we raised $240 million in four rounds of funding. We have a diverse set of investors, institutional, celebrities and athletes, who understand how truly transformative Casper is to sleep products. Among them are actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Ashton Kutcher, rapper Nas and athletes Carmelo Anthony and Shaun White.
TheStreet: What about an IPO?
Krim: It's a great financial milestone, but nothing we're working on imminently. Our goal now is to build a large global brand.
TheStreet: How do you get a good night's sleep?
Krim: You need a Casper mattress, of course, and a cool, crisp environment. A number of our products like our foam mattresses, help regulate temperature. We just relaunched our humidity-fighting duvet, which is remarkably comfortable, too. We have a nap pillow that's a miniature version of the Casper bed pillow, which uses fiber to pull the heat away from your body and that makes it easier to sleep; an adjustable bed base that's good for reading and watching TV in bed and helpful if you have acid reflux, as I do; and a dog bed that cats like, too. A great night of sleep for the entire household.