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Dresden Optics secures $4m injection for expansion

11/07/2018By Matthew Woodley • Staff Journalist
Industry disruptor Dresden Optics has secured $4 million in funding from global investment bank Investec to help fuel its plans for domestic and international expansion.

The startup, which was founded in Sydney in 2014 and now boasts nine locations across Australia and Canada, is focused on producing one style of affordable and durable eyeglasses from recycled materials that can be prepared in a matter of minutes. The concept has so far proved successful and founding director Mr Jason McDermott said there was no reason the business model couldn’t be applied all over the globe.

“There’s a huge opportunity for Dresden to come around and make a big impact in the lives of people all around the world, and that’s really what we’re trying to do,” he said.

“It’s all about expanding our footprint, finding new customers that we can serve and pushing out into overseas markets. Whether that’s in developed markets like Australia and Canada, or up-and-coming markets like India, people just need to be able to see – it’s a really fundamental thing.”


“It’s all about expanding our footprint, finding new customers that we can serve and pushing out into overseas markets.”
Jason McDermott, Dresden

According to McDermott, this global ambition is part of the reason why the business decided to partner with Investec, which has its roots in Africa.

“Because they don’t come from Australia, they’re not thinking ‘the goal is to get to 100 stores and only then we go overseas’, which is very much the case with Australian investors,” McDermott explained.

“[Instead] they think ‘why not go into Africa? Why not going Asia? Why not go into these new up-and-coming markets where there are plenty of people to serve?’ We see this as a global issue, the need for refraction, and the difficulty people have trying to afford it, and it’s nice to feel like we could make an impact on that and change people's lives.”

However, that doesn’t mean Dresden won’t be focusing on its own backyard as well. The business recently collaborated with health fund HCF to take its mobile eyecare trailer to Tamworth for a week, while McDermott also said that Dresden’s clustered presence in only Melbourne and Sydney was likely to change.

“There’s more than enough room in the market for plenty more Dresden stores as well as other players. We’re not here to hurt the independents, we’re not here to compete so-to-speak with the Bailey Nelsons of the world,” he said.

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“There are more than enough customers to go around to support us all and each of the players have their own little niche or demographic that they’re targeting… [but] there are more people out there that need what we’ve got to offer.”

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