Press commentary on how Casper’s new product drop (a night light) highlights the company’s race to catch up with its own investment funding. Read the full briefing

On the woes of raising too much capital:

In 2017, talks of an acquisition by Target fell through, due to a failure to agree on terms. A source familiar with the discussion said that ultimately, Target’s team felt that Casper’s $1 billion price tag was too high and Casper’s investors wouldn’t settle on a lower valuation. Instead, Target invested $75 million in the company, and it currently sells on and in stores, as well as on Amazon and at West Elm. A spokesperson for Target declined to comment on the specifics of the potential acquisition, but said that the company “remains committed” to the Casper partnership, and plans to continue working with the brand. It was also reported the brand would seek an IPO in 2017, which hasn’t surfaced. Casper didn’t return request for comment.

“If they had taken the deal, you’d have an employee payout, solid jobs and more resources, but you have too many investors who wouldn’t have been happy,” said Richie Siegel, the founder of retail advisory Loose Threads. “So, okay, you have to keep going, get bigger, maybe raise more money, and then you’re sprinting. While you’re doing that, the short list of companies that could acquire you are getting shorter.”

On Casper’s need for growth in a challenging market:

Casper’s since focused on beating other mattress competitors in scope, with new products, as well as in retail, with a plan to open 200 stores in the next five years, all the while feeding the increasingly crowded marketing machine for mattresses and related products. As direct-to-consumer brands struggle to turn a profit and grow without leaning on third-party partners, Casper’s at the forefront of what could be the forthcoming bottoming out for digital brands.

“It’s precarious – pushing into retail, pushing into wholesale, moving into multi-product assortment,” said Siegel. “There are a ton of headwinds hitting these brands and if you raise all this money, it has to come back to earth at some point.”