Startups

How the fortunes of DTC startups and buy now pay later apps are intertwined

The direct-to-consumer startup boom has also fueled the rise of a number of secondary industries — for example, buy now pay later services. Affirm just went public this week and if its Wall Street debut is any indication, it’s got some staying power. Affirm disclosed in its S-1 that it generates nearly 30% of its revenue from just one company: Peloton, one of the darlings in the DTC space. But the relationship between buy now pay later services and DTC startups runs deeper than that.

Latest Stories

  • JAN 13, 2021

    As the pandemic continues, gyms are pivoting to virtual corporate perks

    While gyms rush to build out virtual workout products to retain members, seeking out corporate clients has become a growing trend within the industry. From nationwide players like Equinox and Gympass, to regional studios like Fhitting Room, the race to be featured in employers' wellness offerings has begun.

  • JAN 12, 2021

    High-end health-focused meal kits are seeing a boom

    Since the beginning of the pandemic, more consumers have discovered semi-ready health-focused meal kits. Now, emerging startups in this niche category -- which include Factor, Provenance Meals and CookUnity -- are finding a new cohort of customers embracing their delivery menus.

  • JAN 08, 2021
    dtc startup

    Despite hungry VCs, DTC brands are rethinking their fundraising approach

    There's two competing narratives right now taking shape in the direct-to-consumer space: one, that venture capital funding is starting to fall out of favor with DTC startups. And two, that it's a great time to raise venture capital funding as a consumer startup, as more investors are finally waking up to the fact that there's a huge opportunity for these companies as more people do more shopping online. But these two concepts aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Some DTC startups are still raising venture capital money, they're just doing so later on. Or, if they take VC funding, they are taking steps to ensure their cash lasts longer.

  • JAN 08, 2021

    Why DTC furniture brand Model No. is betting on 3D printing

    New DTC furniture brand Model No. is attempting to corner a market looking for high end designs at affordable prices. But its differentiator, CEO Phillip Raub said, is the automated 3D printing process, which allows for faster assembling and shipping times, along with zero waste manufacturing.

  • JAN 07, 2021
    Q&A

    Thinx CEO Maria Molland: Wholesale is a ‘stamp of approval’

    Since taking over as CEO of Thinx in 2017, Maria Molland has sought to turn the startup -- and subsequently the period underwear category -- from a niche player into something that's at home on the shelves of mass-market retailers. To bring about this change, Molland has started to invest more in traditional advertising, running the company's first TV ad in 2019, as well as expanded its wholesale presence. Of course, like over other startup, the coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in Thinx's plans. Still, Thinx is closing 2020 with close to $80 million in revenue, and ended the year profitable.

  • JAN 05, 2021

    After record growth, DTC startups will have to fend off a 2021 slump

    Direct-to-consumer startups were among the biggest beneficiaries of more people doing their shopping online in 2020, with some startups like Brooklinen and Prose reporting that their sales more than doubled or tripled this year. Now, going into 2021, DTC startups are out to prove that the sales growth they reported this year isn't just a flash in the pan.

  • JAN 04, 2021

    The DTC boom got a lifeline in 2020

    The DTC bubble was supposed to pop in 2020; instead, it became even more inflated. Fears that the pandemic would lead to a dip in consumer spending never panned out for most DTC startups, as the people most likely to be their customers -- young professionals working from home -- subsequently spent more of their money shopping online. Over the course of the year, companies in categories as disparate as hair care and bedding reported that their sales doubled or tripled over the course of the year, even as stores were ordered shut. Now, going into 2021, direct-to-consumer startups are trying to figure out how to best capitalize on the growth they saw this year.

  • DEC 28, 2020

    How 2020 killed the Instagram brand

    In 2020, new-to-market startups started to do away with branding tactics that have historically been popular on Instagram. Pastels and Sans Serif font have been replaced by bright colors and oversized lettering, while startups are centering their social media centering their social media strategy around busting taboos or reaching customers that have historically been overlooked. As the direct-to-consumer startup space has gotten more crowded, startups have found that they need a different proposition than just creating a new e-commerce experience for mattresses or luggage -- and that requires a new branding playbook

  • DEC 28, 2020

    The end of the Series A: While tech financing booms, DTC brands face a new reality

    Companies like Airbnb and DoorDash have recently gone public and become the darlings of Wall Street, but there are some players that are notably outside of the current inventory bubble: DTC brands. What began as a warning in 2019 has become a reality in 2020 made more acute by the coronavirus. Most consumer-facing retail startups quite simply won't reach the scale worthy of mid to late stage venture capitalist dollars. In the DTC, that means the mindset is shifting -- and alternatives are being sought out.

  • DEC 23, 2020
    Q&A

    Ro chief growth officer Rob Schutz: ‘Amazon entering the space is great for digital pharmacy’

    Telehealth experienced a boom in 2020, as the pandemic forced people to replace in-person services with online alternatives. That also means it's been an explosive year for telehealth startups like Ro, which is projecting that it will end the year with $230 million in gross revenue, up 55% from the year prior. The scope of Ro's role in health care also changed dramatically this year, as the startup launched its own digital pharmacy and acquired a software startup called Workpath, that assists in deploying nurses for at-home visits. Ro's co-founder and chief growth officer Rob Schutz spoke with Modern Retail to share more details about the company's vision.

  • DEC 18, 2020

    Poshmark’s S-1 highlights: Cutting marketing expenses led to profitability

    The resale industry has been one of the biggest winners in 2020, culminating in resale app Poshmark filing to go public. Poshmark's S-1, which was published on Thursday, reveals that the startup was actually able to turn its first profit of $8.1 million during the first nine months of 2020 -- a rarity among consumer startups looking to go public. But Poshmark still faces a number of challenges ahead in its quest to become a public company. Here's our detailed look into the company's just-released financials.

  • DEC 17, 2020

    To stay afloat, the greeting card business is going digital

    Overall, greeting card sales are down somewhere around 11.6% this year. But there are some reasons for optimism for the industry. The declines in the past several months were not as bad as at the height of the pandemic. And Shutterstock has estimated that holiday card sales would be up 7% this year compared to 2019. A lot of that might be driven by the fact that greeting card businesses have finally figured out how to efficiently sell online -- in part by catering their e-commerce stores to last-minute gift buyers. 

  • JAN 18, 2021
    Sponsored

    Shoppable video is filling a physical retail void

Future Leader Awards
Jan 22, 2021

Recognizing the next generation of leaders across media and marketing, fashion, beauty and retail.

Remind Me