Eyewear Retailer Warby Parker Rsises $245M in New Funding

eyewear

Warby Parker’s Recipe for Success

One of the major elements behind Warby Parker’s success is that it sells fashionable prescription eyewear starting at only $95 using a direct-to-consumer model. Additionally, customers can order multiple frames online and try them on at home. Warby Parker processed the payment only once the customer decides on a style. The customer may ship the other frames back for free.

eyewear

Eyewear Brand Founded in 2010

Founded in 2010 by students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider started the company as part of the school’s Venture Initiation Program. They observed that most designer glasses are simply licensed to large eyewear companies and then sold in bulk to stores. By pursuing a direct-to-consumer business strategy, they could cut out unnecessary intermediaries and deliver major cost savings to the customer.

eyewear

The Startup Rounds

In 2011, the startup raised a $12.5 million Series A round. A Series B round followed, raising $37 million in 2012. Warby Parker attained unicorn status in 2015 with a valuation of $1.2 billion. Former J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler was an early investor in the company and joined its board in 2013. Although started on Wharton’s campus in Philadelphia, the company is now based in New York City.

Effects of COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 operations, Warby Parker had to rapidly shift its eyewear operations and model. Luckily it had already introduced features that made the online experience easier. In 2019 the brand implemented a virtual try-on feature using augmented reality technology. This feature enabled online users to seamlessly see how different frames fit on their face. That technology was built on Apple’s ARKit.

Socially Conscious Eyewear Brand

Following in the footsteps of other brands such as TOMS and Thrive Market, Warby Parker has committed to social consciousness. For every pair of Warby Parker eyewear purchased, a pair is donated to someone in need around the world through its “Buy a Pair, Give A Pair” program. Warby Parker has also partnered with a number of organizations and local government agencies, such as the Department of Health in Baltimore and NYC Department of Education, to provide free vision exams to low-income communities. In terms of environmental impact, Warby Parker touts itself as a 100% carbon neutral company.

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Carpenter Wellington PLLC

Carpenter Wellington PLLC

Ryan Carpenter serves as Attorney and Managing Director of Carpenter Wellington. Ryan advises clients across a broad set of corporate and commercial matters.