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PRESS RELEASE: Sleepyhead Lands First Outside Investor
July 27, 2018 | Amanda Zanardi | 0 comments
Sleepyhead -- an online sleep startup that sells memory foam mattresses and mattress toppers tailored to college students and student housing communities lands its first outside investor, the Founder/CEO of LoveSac (NASDAQ:LOVE).
Sleepyhead’s Founder/CEO Steven Van Alen, age 26, moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco to raise capital and build a team for his startup that’s going after a small niche market. Prior to Sleepyhead, Steven started four companies and one non-profit 501(c)(3).
Steven’s most recent business success is Sleepyhead an online sleep startup that designed and engineered an exceptional memory foam mattress and topper at a student-friendly price. They ship anywhere in the USA in 2-5 days and will donate one product for every ten sold to an anti-poverty nonprofit organization.
Sleepyhead is a Benefit Corporation, which is a hybrid between a corporation and a nonprofit. Steven started the company when he found out his sister who was homeless, pregnant and a college student at the time. Unable to provide for herself, she was eligible for government housing, but found out no furnishings were provided. She shared with family that she slept on the concrete floor while being nine months pregnant. Steven knew he had to do something to help, not just her, but the thousands of students who fall on hard times and are in need of some support to sleep better at night and that’s when Sleepyhead was born. According to many recent studies, 9% of four-year college students and 14% of two-year college students are homeless.
In May of 2017, Steven competed in the California State University Northridge business competition for a chance to win $20,000 cash and $15,000 in outside services to launch Sleepyhead. CSUN’s business competition put on by the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics called the Bull Ring, similar to the popular show, Shark Tank, is where businesses compete in front of business executives for a chance to land an investment. The competition started out with 40 plus companies and was narrowed down to five for a final round. Steven successfully pitched the vision and idea of Sleepyhead to over nine judges and won the entire competition.
Sleepyhead recently co-partnered with over 900 universities in all 50 states for their premium mattress toppers and mattresses. They offer mattress toppers to incoming freshman who find it difficult to sleep on the existing dorm room mattresses and mattresses to off-campus students and student housing communities.
They needed to support their new partnerships, but didn’t have enough inventory to handle a partnership that large. For the last few months Sleepyhead was riding on the fate of an investor to save the company from running out of cash. And the future of an entrepreneur and winning business model was on the line. Three months prior Steven formed a relationship on social media with LoveSac’s Founder and CEO, Shawn Nelson.
The time came where Shawn was in LA for 24 hours and needed to meet with Steven face-to-face in order to do a deal. Steven drove from his home in San Francisco immediately and got into LA around 3 in the morning to meet with Shawn that day to make a deal. Luckily, the long drive was worth it. Shawn agreed to do a deal for $50,000 and become a partner in the company. Steven was able to pay for the inventory to support his new partnerships and is looking forward to a successful back-to-school season this year.
Steven believes that having Shawn as a partner and investor now validates Sleepyhead as a viable direct to consumer business. Sleepyhead sells directly to consumers through it’s website www.sleepyheadusa.com and through well known online college specific retailers Dormify and OCM under the Sleepyhead brand.