As we spend more and more time online, as our virtual interactions increase, so too does our appreciation for tangible, real-world experiences — especially those that arrive via the mailbox. Remember how good it feels to receive a letter from a friend in the mail? Now imagine that friend is someone you admire and that letter is an awesome gift, and you have the basis for Quarterly, a subscription-based service that launched last December.
Promising curated gifts from notable designers and tech industry celebs for $25/month, Quarterly quickly found an eager audience. In fact, founder Zach Frechette tells us that due to high demand (i.e. $100K in gross sales in 12 weeks), Quarterly had to shut its doors on new users so it could catch up on fulfilling original prescriptions and re-architect for scale.
It was this demand (and the need for more capital) that led True Ventures and Collaborative fund to invest $1.25 million in Quarterly in March. At the time, we were just working off the company’s Form D filing with the SEC, as the team remained heads-down, dealing with the challenge of keeping up with demand.
Today, the startup revealed that, in addition to Tony Conrad joining its board of directors, Quarterly has added a number of new investors, including SV Angel and Initialized Capital (otherwise known as Y Combinator partners Alexis Ohanian, Harj Taggar and Garry Tan). The newcomers join Collaborative Fund, Scott Belsky, Brian Sugar and Ryan Jacoby — the startup’s initial batch of seed investors.
With some growth capital in the bank and an impressive list of investors and advisors in place, Quarterly finally re-opened its doors this week to new subscribers, celebrating the re-launch, Frechette tells us, by adding two new contributors to the site: Jason Kottke, the longtime editor of Kottke.org and the Stanford d.school. What’s more, 4-Hour Workweek author Tim Ferriss will also be joining as a contributor in the near future.
On top of that, Quarterly is also announcing several new additions to its leadership, including Tonya Michlin, who joins Quarterly from Green Dot where she was the VP of Retail Production, and Mitch Lowe, who will be joining the startup’s advisory board. Lowe is best known for being a founding executive at Netflix and, most recently, the president of Redbox.
The new additions to its leadership will help Quarterly take the sting out of its growing pains, hopefully preventing it from having to shut down to new subscribers. The startup has already attracted a big audience and the addition of new contributors on top of its initial list (which included the likes of “Moonwalking with Einstein” author Joshua Foer, The Atlantic Senior Editor Alexis Madrigal, President of the Rhode Island School of Design John Maeda, hilarious tweeter and Mule Design Founder Mike Monteiro, author of The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin, to name a few) will keep the demand high, along with spreading the love amongst a bigger set of gift-givers.
The subscription-based mail service has become increasingly popular of late, as we’ve seen a number of companies pop up, working in a variety of industries, that seek to connect us with exclusive products and ideas from the people (and brands) we admire. Forbes compiled a list of these champions of snail mail, which includes well-known services like Birchbox. Or there’s the athlete and guy-centric newcomer 12Society.
While each of them have slightly different audiences, Quarterly is fast cornering the market on design, tech, and geek-focused gift-giving, which should be music to your ears. Either way, these services are giving us the tangible interaction and real world community we crave, and startups should take note. There’s money in the mail.
Quarterly is somewhat of an outlier, having created a design-oriented subscription service and accompanying web platform, which allows anyone to sign up and receive receive curated, physical gifts from influential contributors like President of the Rhode Island School of Design, John Maeda, Behance Founder Scott Belsky, and Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Breadpig, and Hipmunk fame — by mail.