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Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

Today we’re working to figure something out, namely the tradeoffs that D2C unicorn (and soon to be public company) Casper faces as it seeks to balance growth and profitability. And then we’re going to stack it next to its most obvious public comp, Purple, to figure out what it might be worth.

This is going to be a little more wonky than usual, but I can’t help myself. Let’s go.

Profit v. Growth

Every growing company faces a tradeoff in growth and profitability. The faster a company grows, generally speaking, the lower its profitability. In reverse, companies that grow more slowly can focus on wringing profits from existing operations. Companies that grow quickly while generating profit are rare (the Zooms of the world).

The tension between growth and profit is so well-known and understood that startups are held to a rule regarding the pair, called the Rule of 40. (In the post-WeWork IPO era, get used to hearing about this sort of thing more often.)

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