New York-headquartered startup Warby Parker has declared the closure of a combined Series F and Series G funding round in which it has raised US$ 245M. Out of the total funding amount, US$ 125M was led by Durable Capital Partners  (Series F ) in Q2-2020 and US$ 120M led by D1 Capital (Series G) in Q3-2020. Other investors include T. Rowe Price and Baillie Gifford.

Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, David Gilboa, and Jeffrey Raider started Warby Parker in the Venture Initiation Program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where all the four had been studying. The startup received US$ 2.5K seed investment through the program and launched it in February 2010.

The startup is currently valued at US$ 3B.

Warby Parker is a lifestyle brand focusing on designer eyewear offered at a groundbreaking price. It sells prescription glasses online. By reducing the cost of especially going to a physical store, and contending with already established enterprises in the same industry, who had for years enjoyed the luxury of overpricing the product, Warby was able to sell prescription glasses for less than US$100/frame.

The startup has set up a process where customers can order five potential frames that are delivered to their home, try them on, and send them back once they choose the appropriate frame. It has in recent years broadened its product line by including sunglasses and children’s frames.

In 2017, it had launched a Prescription Check App enabling its telehealth service for customers in New York. This App permitted users to extend existing glasses or contacts prescription through a virtual visit with a Warby Parker OD (Doctor of Optometry). The Prescription Check App has also expanded to new regions. Along with that, it has expanded its footprint with physical stores and now owns almost 125 stores across the USA and certain regions in Canada.

It is operating as a socially mindful business through its model named, buy one, give one. Through this model, for each pair of glasses purchased by a customer, the startup pays for the production of another pair of eyeglasses for the non-profit organization VisionSpring. The startup also used its Optical Lab in New York as a distribution center to enable the donation of N95 masks to healthcare workers.

Warby introduced a virtual try-glasses-on-feature in 2019 that uses Augmented Reality (AR) to allow customers to see their choice of frames on their own face. Though this feature is available only on Warby Parker’s iOS App on an iPhone X or its subsequent models.

The latest round brings Warby Parker’s total funding to US$ 535.5M, that it has secured in the last 10 years over multiple funding rounds. Investors in these rounds include:

  1. Series D in 2015: Bullish, Wellington Management, General Catalyst, Tiger Global Management, WME Ventures.
  2. Series C in December 2013: Tiger Global Management, Spark Capital, First Round Capital, BoxGroup, Thrive Capital, General Catalyst, Bullish.
  3. Series B in January 2013: MentorTech Ventures, Andrew Mitchell, Millard Drexler, Grace Beauty Capital, Red Swan Ventures, American Express Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Bullish, Spark Capital.
  4. Series A in September 2011: Thrive Capital, Tiger Global Management, Arya Bolurfrushan, Lerer Hippeau, First Round Capital, Bullish, WME Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Interplay Ventures.
  5. Seed round in July 2011: Bullish, Lerrer Hippeau, First Round Capital, MentorTech Ventures, SV Angel, Andrew Boszhardt, Jr., Brainchild Holdings, Davis Smith, Shervin Pishevar, Summit Action.

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Aishwarya writes about the startup ecosystem on VCBay. She is a third-year Computer Science engineering student who looks forward to exploring the world of startups and finance.


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