Purple a Utah mattress startup you’ve probably never heard of is on track to unicorndom

If you don’t reside in the Bay Area bubble, it’s probable that you haven’t heard of Purple, a mattress business that is entirely self-funded and that uses unique toxin-free technology for pressure-free sleep. Purple has the potential to be the first unicorn mattress.

The peaceful cattle town of Grantsville, with a population of 9,617, is located over a thousand miles from Silicon Valley and just west of Utah’s Great Salt Lake, in what is essentially the middle of nowhere. You may find Purple, a direct-to-consumer mattress business, there working diligently to prepare hundreds of thousands of pillows, powerbases, and, of course, mattresses for distribution in a warehouse the size of eight Walmarts put together.

The firm began in the wheelchair industry ten years ago. It was developing a unique cushioning system to shield folks who spend their days sitting against bedsores. Tony and Terry Pearce, the company’s founders and brothers, saw a change in the mattress market. As it moved online, a number of businesses, including Casper, Tuft and Needle, Leesa, and others, began to emerge. So the couple made the decision three years ago to cash in on the craze by creating their own mattress utilising the same technology as wheelchair cushions.

That decision turned out to be wise, and the firm has expanded significantly as a result. Purple expanded their workforce from 30 to 600 workers in just the last year, erected the aforementioned 574,000-square-foot production plant in Grantsville, and, from what I’ve been informed, sales are soaring.

Though the business was reluctant to provide figures, a source tells me Purple is on track to generate between $150 and $200 million in sales this year as it works to fulfil orders for 27,000 of its recently introduced pillows. Contrast that with Casper, who may be its largest rival and whose total sales reached $100 million in 2016 and were allegedly on course to reach $200 million by the end of this year.

However, Purple hasn’t accessed venture finance as of yet, in contrast to Casper, which has received $70 million in investment so far. It also controls the whole production process from start to finish. Due to the low cost of land and labour in Utah, the mattress business can produce its goods at a considerably cheaper price than Bay Area rivals.

It significantly increases employment prospects in Grantsville, a small community with few employment options. With plans to recruit a further 2,000 workers, Purple will soon be the area’s largest employer. Purple is collaborating with the high schools and training centres in the area to provide locals the skills they’ll need to work in the warehouse in the near future.

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The company’s headquarters are an hour’s drive to the south in Alpine, a town that sits just below Utah’s Wasatch Front, a mountain range that runs from Ogden to Provo and slopes up to what has come to be known as the “Silicon Slopes” due to the state’s rapid technological development in recent years.

There are other unicorns in the region, including Pluralsight, Domo, and Qualtrics, Accel Capital’s biggest investment to date, which was recently awarded a staggering $2.5 billion value this past week.

Sam Bernards, the CEO of Purple, thinks his business will soon be the next billion-dollar startup in the area, and if recent sales are any indicator, he’s definitely right. Despite the fact that Purple has never received funding from investors, Bernards informs me that he has had queries from Silicon Valley about doing so in the future in order to help the business grow.

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The mattress costs are comparable to those of Casper. For instance, a king bed costs $1,300. At $1,150, a Casper king is barely below that. However, compared to others in the area, it is at the upper end. For that size, Tuft and Needle, another mattress company with headquarters in Phoenix, charges $700.

Bernards counters that Purple is in different league. It’s a smart choice for those who spend a lot of time under the covers since, among other things, it’s intended to prevent bedsores. Purple employs a total of 16 patents to create mattresses that are both firm and supportive enough to keep you up through the night while yet hugging your body. Additionally, you may consume them in the case of a catastrophe. There is no latex or other harmful materials in the hyperelastic mattress material, which is constructed of a food-grade polymer.

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A recent trip to Utah allowed me to try the product for myself. I can best compare it like lying on a really soft batch of Jello without any seismic tremors. It is as comfortable as my Brooklyn Bedding mattress at home and Casper, which I have previously tested. The jelly-like webbed material underneath me caressed every pressure point on my body, allowing for longer hours of comfort and breathability so you won’t likely wake up sweating.

Purple offers a 100-day money-back guarantee and claims that each mattress should last around 10 years, which is about the period at which most people start searching for a new mattress.

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However, there is a lot of opposition. According to Inc., there are more than 600 mattress companies in the United States, some of which have brick-and-mortar locations where you can try the mattress and speak with a salesperson. Casper is the online mattress startup with the highest brand recognition among the San Francisco residents I polled.

Purple, on the other hand, appears to be moving quickly. Of course, it will need to move quickly to finish those back orders, but when you combine Purple’s current growth and interest, ownership of the manufacturing process, access to a cheaper labour pool, distinctive branding, strong sales, and future plans to expand into international markets with some VC funding to help it scale, Purple may be poised to outperform all the competition.

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