Warby Parker Raises $100 Million Series D, Pursues Online Eye Exams

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Warby Parker is an online eyeglasses retailer that launched in 2010, competing in the same space as 39dollarglasses.com. The company gained brand recognition in its early days through a popular program where users could buy a pair of glasses online and the frames would be mailed out for a 30 day trial period before the user was charged. During the 30 day trial, users were free to return them or swap them out for a different pair. 

The offer attracted users and the business grew quickly. Now, just five years since its launch, Warby has been welcomed into the billion dollar club. Last week, the company announced that it had closed a $100 million Series D on a $1.2 billion valuation led by T. Rowe Price, with participation from Wellington Management and prior investors Tiger Global and General Catalyst. The new funding brings Warby’s total raised to $125 million.

Interestingly, Warby reports that it will use a portion of the new funding to expand its physical footprint, opening eight new physical locations where consumers can schedule an eye exam and purchase new glasses all in one place. T. Rowe Price investor Henry Ellenbogen explains, “We think about Warby as a blend of offline and online. The more successful Warby is offline in a market, the more successful they are online.”

To this end, Warby is also working on enhancing its online store to provide the same all-in-one experience, and it will do this by adding the ability to offer a virtual eye exams. The hope is that if Warby’s technology team can develop the tools to conduct virtual eye screenings, these tools could then be embedded in Warby’s apps and website, culminating in a single process for consumers that includes an eye exam, lens prescription, and the opportunity to buy new frames and try them out.


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