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Warby Parker nets $60 million from investors

Dec 20 2013, 2:31pm CST | by

Warby Parker nets $60 million from investors
Photo Credit: Forbes
 
 
 

Warby Parker, seller of hipster-beloved glasses has raised $60 million. This latest funding round, first reported by Fortune, was led by Tiger Global Management. It brings the company’s total funding to over $110 million since inception in 2010. Existing investors like General Catalyst also made follow-on investments.

“We wanted to bulletproof our balance sheet,” co-founder Dave Gilboa told Fortune. It’s possible Warby Parker is eyeing small acquisitions as it gains ground in the vast prescription glasses and eyewear market, which is expected to be worth $130 billion in 2018, according to a 2013 report by Transparency Market Research.

Warby Parker recently opened a bricks-and-mortar store in New York but its business is still mostly online. It disrupted a sluggish market by selling prescription glasses at $95 by working directly with Italian and Chinese manufacturers to sell their glasses exclusively on their site. The company has a philanthropic edge, donating a pair of glasses for every pair sold. They gave away 500,000 pairs this year.

When Forbes spoke recently to their investors, General Catalyst Partners they said ecommerce continues to be ripe for innovation and investment. “A lot of consumer brands that have been enduring for the last 100 years are up for grabs,” said Hemant Taneja, Managing Director at General Catalyst. “Look at Warby Parker, they’ve come from nowhere. It’s about leveraging the ability to sell online – there’s a new supply chain and the runway is significant,” he said.

What does growth mean to Warby Parker? A startup ceases to be a startup “When a company starts to be reactive rather than proactive—play more defense than offense, Co-founder Neil Blumenthal told Forbes when we spoke to him about this Year’s Hottest Startups. “That mind shift occurs when a company grows protective of what it’s doing rather than attempting to do something that hasn’t been done before,” he says.

Source: Forbes

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