Poppin, an online office products and furniture shop whose goal is to make design more affordable (and Pinterest-worthy), is announcing today having raised $11.1 million in Series B funding. The round was led by TrilogyGrowth, a Canadian growth stage investment fund run by former Indigo Books & Music President Music president Joel Silver. Existing investors Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital, and company founder J. Christopher Burch also participated alongside a small group of angels, which included David Tisch and others.
As a part of the new round Silver will be joining Poppin’s board.
Burch had the concept for Poppin back in 2009, and later closed on $6 million in Series A funding in February 2012. He saw that people today now had access to great design at lower price points in so many aspects of their lives, but that didn’t seem to apply to the office environment. In addition, there’s a lot of crossover between work and home these days – with office spaces serving not only as places to work, but also places to relax, dine and play - a concept startups and other tech companies are very familiar with, of course. Meanwhile, home offices often serve dual needs as well.
With these concepts in mind, Poppin launched its “fashion forward” online catalog which today has grown to include furniture, office accessories and supplies, kitchenware, organizational aids and more. In recent weeks, Poppin has added new categories as well, like wall art and lighting, for example, which is furthering the blurring of lines between those items that are meant for the workplace and those that could be found in a home.
Now with its Series B round, the company plans to expand again, says Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Ranford. And not only in the product lineup itself, he says, but also beyond e-commerce. Although Poppin’s products are only available on the web right now, it sounds like that will be changing in the near future. Ranford says he couldn’t go into details on this front, as deals are in the works.
But the company has been approached by a number of people who want to sell its products, and it plans to make it possible for others to sell Poppin both in brick-and-mortar stores as well as other online ones. The company had previously offered items on promotion on Fab.com, which it saw as a helpful way to promote its brand, given the companies’ similar focus on affordable design.
In addition, though the lions’ share of its sales today are directly to consumers, who may then bring products into their own workplace, Ranford says that its B2B business is now growing quickly as well. The company offers offices access to free “work stylists” who will go into a workplace to assess the needs, then make recommendations as interior designers would. Poppin’s corporate client list includes Fab.com, Kate Spade, LinkedIn, Pandora, Rachel Zoe Media Group, SalesForce Marketing Cloud, and Warby Parker.
The company declined to discuss revenue, sales volume or growth metrics, only noting that things are generally “hockey stick”-like, while also pointing out that existing investors returned in this Series B. On the B2B side of the business, order sizes are larger, with the average order around $700.00.
Poppin is growing its team quickly, too, which is now 32 people in its New York headquarters, and another half-dozen or so in China where the products are manufactured. By the end of the calendar year, another 12 or so will be added across a number of open positions including I.T. and engineering, operations, customer support, and more. As for Poppin’s expansion through these forthcoming partnerships, the company expects to have further news on that front sometime this May.
Longer-term, Poppin may have the company having to dissociate its brand with the “office” label even further, as it spreads its bright, colorful style into the home even more.
“We have a whole merchandising strategy team under Jeff Miller, our head designer, who looks at this opportunity very far out,” says Ranford, explaining that he also sees the company moving down a similar path to Quidsi or Fab (though perhaps the latter before its most recent pivot). “A lot of what [Fab is] up to makes a lot of sense for us, given our design focus.”