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Company

Warby Parker receives $95 million in funding, analysts predict future IPO for the company

13/04/2018
Warby Parker has raised US$75 million (AU$95.4 m) in series E funding, leading multiple analysts to predict the company is headed toward an initial public offering in the near future.

The latest round of funding brought its value up to around US$1.7 billion (AU$2.16 b), only weeks after it was reported the company was planning to open nearly 100 stores by the end of 2018. Management firm T. Rowe Price led the series E funding, further adding to speculation that Warby Parker was close to a stock market listing.

However, the company’s management remained tight lipped about the prospect and instead said they planned to use the money for research and development, and technology investment.


"We’re excited to continue to focus on new technology and innovation, including the development of telemedicine services and other products and services,"
Dave Gilboa, Co-founder and CEO of Warby Parker

“We’re working to build one of the world’s most impactful brands, and we’ve always taken a long term view,” co-founder and co-CEO Mr Neil Blumenthal said.

The company, launched in 2010 as an e-commerce platform for eyewear and sunglasses, employs more than 1,400 people and currently has 65 retail locations. Prior to this round of funding it had raised US$215 million (AU$273.4 m) in outside capital, but its focus on aggressive expansion meant it was yet to turn a profit – until now.

Upon announcing the multi-million dollar outside investment, co-founder and CEO Mr Dave Gilboa confirmed 2018 would be the retailer’s first full year of achieving a profit, but reiterated it would not stop the company’s pans for further investment.

“This round of financing enables us to accelerate investments in our future while building deeper relationships with long-term shareholders,” Gilboa said.

“We’re excited to continue to focus on new technology and innovation, including the development of telemedicine services and other products and services that make it easier and more affordable for our customers to access high quality, stylish eyewear.”

Warby Parker also announced it had added Harvard professor of business administration, Mr Youngme Moon, to its board of directors. Moon currently serves on the boards of Unilever, Rakuten and fast-growing salad chain Sweetgreen.

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