Pleygo had a tremendous year. The LEGO rental service saw its membership skyrocket, secured $6 million in venture capital funding, and wrapped up the year on the wish list of many parents and kids this holiday season, even getting a nod of approval from Sabrina the Teenage Witch herself. The company is sure to close out the year on a high note and as the calendar turns to 2014, the future looks even brighter for this subscription-based toy business.
Pleygo is relatively new on the startup scene. The self-described “Netflix for LEGO” business was launched in 2012 but really picked up steam in 2013 as its subscriber count reached 7,000 over the summer. The San Jose-based company says that membership is doubling on a monthly basis – rates that many startups could only dream of. Investors took notice of the company’s unique take on an emerging business model trend and extoled Pleygo with their checkbooks. By August, the company had secured $6 million in additional funding from two venture capital firms, on top of the backing received earlier from New York VC firm Stoneham Capital.
Fun fact: What do GetMyBoat, ZigAir, and Pleygo have in common? All three startups have connections to NapkinBetaBeyond! GetMyBoat offers boaters a peer-to-peer watercraft rental marketplace while ZigAir is a flight-sharing community that connects travelers with charter flight operators. Both teamed up with NapkinBetaBeyond to develop their respective platforms. And “LEGOBox”, a prototype designed by NapkinBetaBeyond, evolved into Pleygo.
The company has come a long way since founder Elina Furman realized the high cost of her son's hobby and thought to herself that there must be a better way. “When my husband told me once how much we spent on LEGO sets, I was shocked,” Furman writes. “That’s when I thought of the concept of renting LEGO sets. It would save money and declutter the house. And that’s when Pleygo was born!”
Most recently, Pleygo has been garnering attention with its First Holiday Brick Drive, a campaign to collect and distribute LEGO blocks to organizations and doctors’ offices that support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Sites like Babble.com, a lifestyle and parenting blog from Disney, have been spreading the word of the campaign to its readers. The company has even begun earning some celebrity affection with Melissa Joan Hart, best known for her role as the title character in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, offering up Pleygo subscriptions to her fellow mommy friends.
We’re looking forward to seeing what 2014 holds for Furman and Pleygo.