Brooklinen, a startup that sells bedding and other home goods online, has raised $50 million in new funding from growth equity firm Summit Partners.
Recent headlines are spurring bigger questions about the direct-to-consumer retail business, with Blue Apron exploring a potential sale and Casper also disclosing disappointing growth and persistent losses.
Co-founder and CEO Rich Fulop said his company is “a little bit different.” It’s a crucial difference, though: Brooklinen is profitable.
In fact, Fulop said that the startup has been profitable for three of the last five years. When Brooklinen first launched in 2014, it had to be profitable, because investors were skeptical about the idea, leaving Rich and Viki Fulop (they’re husband-and-wife co-founders) to bootstrap the company until raising $10 million from FirstMark Capital in 2017.
Even then, Fulop told me he was “kind of uncomfortable” spending more money than he was taking in, so Brooklinen returned to profitability in 2019. At the same time, he said topline revenue grew 40 percent last year.
Asked how he balanced growth and profitability, Fulop said, “It’s honestly basic stuff. We focused on margins.”