Sunday, a subscription box service for lawn-care products, has raised $19 million in its second round of venture-capital funding as it seeks to capitalize on a hot market for houses nationwide.
The Boulder startup, which is registered as This Land Inc., uses available climate data and soil samples from customer lawns to decide which lawn products they send to homeowners to promote healthy growth or control weeds.
In an interview with BizWest, CEO Coulter Lewis declined to specify how much the company made in revenue last year, but said 2020 sales have been eight times higher than in 2019 and far beyond initial expectations.
That growth has partially been fueled by shifts in the housing market during the pandemic. Home sales have been strong across the Front Range and the country at large as buyers moved out of dense cities in search of more space to occupy during stay-at-home orders. At the same time, the Federal Reserve aiming to interest rates near 0% for the foreseeable post-pandemic future is making financing a new home far easier.
In Sunday’s case, more homebuyers means more people with lawns, and that grows the estimated $48 billion annual market for do-it-yourself lawn-care that’s been dominated by Lowe’s Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) and Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD).
Lewis also believes Sunday is drawing customers in with the products the company formulates in-house without using man-made chemicals.
Pesticides in general are a deep point of contention over their impacts to human health, with the most recent salvo being German conglomerate Bayer AG agreeing to set aside $10 billion to distribute to thousands of Americans that claimed using RoundUp caused them to develop non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“If you imagine that that consumer, you’re talking about the younger person moving out of the city, maybe for the first time in a home, the values that they live in all the other parts of the things they buy, like in food, clothes, things like that, they wanted to take care of their own little piece of land in the backyard,” he said. “… And they’re met with a market that’s completely full of synthetic pesticides and other chemicals, and really confusing and difficult to use.”
Sunday grew this year from 20 employees to 40, and Lewis said the $19 million round will be used in part to hire more across the company, with a special focus on hiring developers to help manage the large datasets Sunday uses to analyze climate patterns and soil samples.
The company has raised a total of $28.2 million in venture funding overall, including a $6 million Series A last August and a $3.24 million seed round last January.
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