Personalized bed-in-box from Helix

People actually prefer going to the dentist to buying a mattress, says Adam Tishman, co-founder of Helix, a New York City-based mattress startup. Hardly a shock, if you think about the typical mattress-buying experience.

Tishman and two of his Wharton classmates, Jerry Lin and Kristian von Rickenbach, went through it. He says that when they moved to Philadelphia for business school, they couldn't find the right product, everything was super expensive, and they didn't understand what they were buying. So they decided to solve those problems in the mattress space. Their solution: Helix, a direct-to-consumer sleep brand that lets you customize your mattress.

How does it work?

Take a quick sleep quiz, answering questions about your body type (height and weight), sleeping preferences (side, back, or stomach), whether you get hot or cold at night, and what your mattress preference is (firm or soft). Helix will use that information to create the mattress that is right for you based on four key metrics: feel, point elasticity, support, and temperature regulation.

Not entirely sure what works for you? Come into the showroom in the Flatiron section of Manhattan to test out your options. Or order online, and either way, you have 100 nights to try out your new mattress at home.

Helix mattresses, sized from twin through California king, cost from $600 to $1,195. The queen retails for $995. The mattresses come with a 10-year warranty and are made and manufactured in the United States.

Helix isn't the first company to offer more affordable beds in a box, delivered right to your door, but where they do stand out: personalization. Tishman says the company can actually build one bed with two different sides. So the left side is personalized for one person, the right side personalized for another. He says it is a great solution if one person likes a firm bed and the other side likes a soft bed, or one person is heavier than the other. Helix even offers a so-called blended bed: a single mattress that combines a couple's preferences across both sides.

Helix started with just three co-founders, but now has nearly 30 employees and has raised $8.5 million in funding on their quest to help everyone have a better night's sleep. Tishman says that so far Helix has served up 40 million hours of sleep, selling tens of thousands of mattresses to every state and Canada.