Press commentary on Casper’s looming IPO. Read the article.

That Casper will likely have real issues in the public market isn’t necessarily an indictment on the DTC space, but on the expectations it created while trying to grow. “They basically started to hit a ceiling,” said Richie Siegel, the founder and lead analyst for retail consultancy Loose Thread. It tried to grow through retail partnerships — as well as through its own stores — but has yet to create a product pipeline that fosters longtime paying customers. “You have massive competition and a slowing business on your core product front,” said Siegel. “Structurally, that is not a business to go public.”

It’s a cautionary tale — one of a company getting too caught up in the VC cycle. Founders, said Siegel, “make these trajectory-defining decision really early on in their company’s existence. Once you’ve raised $20-$30 million, you’ve already decided — and you end up boxing yourself into a corner.” Despite multiple reported offers of acquisition — including an alleged $1 billion from Target in 2017 (it instead became a minority investor) — Casper ultimately rebuffed them all. Because of “stubbornness — or whatever that was,” said Siegel, “[Casper is] going to end up paying for it.”