Online bedding retailer Koala eyes Asia

Australian online bedding retailer Koala is seeking to raise AU$15 million (HK$89.3 million) to catapult the business into Asia following a bumper first year in which it turned over $13 million.

The company will initially target Hong Kong, China, Japan and Singapore, along with the UK.

Founded by childhood friends Mitchell Taylor and Dany Milham, the company sells mattresses with a world-first, “anti-disturbance” technology. Its website shows a video of a man balancing a glass of wine on the mattress then jumping on to it without the glass falling over.

The company is so-named as the founders adopt a koala in partnership with Port Macquarie’s Koala Hospital for every mattress purchased.

When it launched in November 2015, Koala had intended to raise $5 million in capital this time last year, but it did not need to as sales went faster than expected.

“We were already cashflow positive and our revenue far exceeded our hopes and dreams,” says Taylor.

“We could have raised money, but we wanted to hold back as we had a lot of cash, and it has now resulted in us being able to raise three times the amount at three times the valuation,” says Milham.

They hope to close the series A round by May.

Milham says they had visited the markets and found the Asian mattress industry similar to Australia, with dominant players charging “sky-high prices”.

As well as mattresses, the eCommerce company is about to start selling bedsheets and pillows, and also intends to extend its offering to other furniture items such as sofas.

Taylor and Milham started the company with less capital than a standard home-loan deposit, and until now the only external investor has been Australian cricket captain Steve Smith.

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