Warby Parker Eyes New Products After $36.8 Million in New Funding
With $36.8 million in new funding, fashionable eyewear maker Warby Parker now casts an eye on several new projects, according to a source close to the company.
The newly acquired funding--revealed in a SEC filing Friday and first noted by Fortune--will allow Warby Parker to expand its clientele with new product offerings, including a titanium line of frames and progressive lenses that provide dual visual correction for distance and reading, the source said. (Progressive lenses will allow the company to appeal to older customers who need reading glasses.)
Co-founders Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa also plans to open their first retail store in New York City, the source said. They have a showroom in Warby Parker's headquarters building and inside other retail outlets in several metro areas, but this would be their first standalone boutique.
"They focused very much on launching a fashion brand and a premium product," the source said. "And they also focused on the customer experience, making sure that people have a painless and positive experience buying glasses."
Warby Parker's stylish eyeglasses, online-only business model, and $95 price tag--including lenses--made the retailer an industry darling after it launched in 2010. After two editorial features in Vogue and GQ, the company sold out of 15 eyeglass styles and collected 20,000 waitlisted customers.
The company said it distributed more than 100,000 pairs of glasses in 2011, GigaOm notes--adding up to about $10 million in sales.
General Catalyst Partners managing director Joel Cutler--also an investor in Airbnb, Kayak, GroupMe, and others--played a lead role in this funding round, the source confirmed. The company had previously raised $13 million from various venture capital firms including Tiger Global Management, Thrive Capital, SV Angel and Menlo Ventures, Fortune reports.
"Today, all the rage seems to be lean start-up methodology, where you launch as quickly as possible and see what works and iterate," Gilboa told Inc. earlier this year. "We took a very deliberate approach instead. We spent about a year and a half from when we came up with the idea to when we launched, and a huge part of that was building a brand we could believe in."
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