Warby Parker raises $37M of $40M round

Steven Loeb · September 10, 2012 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/2a0a

Online glasses retailer offers discounted designer glasses by cutting out the middleman

Having been a glasses wearer since I was in elementary school, I know how cheap, ugly and yet extremely expensive, glasses can be. So anyone who tries to cut down that price, while also selling glasses that you can actually imagine someone wanting to wear, is alright in my book.

Online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker has raised $36.8 million, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

The document indicates that the round could top out at $40 million, with $3.2 remaining.

Warby Parker offers designer and prescription glasses for $95, with free shipping. It does this, it says, by cutting out the middleman.

Instead of outsourcing designs to large companies, who then jack up prices when selling them to stores, Warby Parker designs their own glasses and sells them directly to the consumer.

“We're independent. We don't partner with licensing companies who control the market and keep prices high. We take great pride in designing our own eyewear and refuse to charge outrageous prices for our frames,” Warby Parker says.

Last month, Warby Parker was named by SecondMarker as one of the companies, showing some up-and-coming promise, ranking second on its Q2 Rising Stars.

Created in February 2010 by Neil Blumenthal, David Gilboa, Jeffrey Raider and Andrew Hunt, the company “was founded with a rebellious spirit and a lofty objective: to create boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a revolutionary price point,” Warby Parker writes on its website.

The name of the company comes from two characters created by Jack Kerouac.

Though it does not list any sales figures on its website, the company did give away over 100,000 pairs of glasses in 2011, with its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program.

Warby Parker recently announced that it will be visiting nine cities in the United States, spending two weekends in each one.

The company is looking for hosts for each city. Fans can submit videos on the company's Facebook page, in which they say why they are Warby Parker's biggest fan. Winners will get free glasses for a year, free happy hour and will get to hang out with the Warby Parker team.

The roadtrip will hit Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego and Los Angeles.

The New York City-based startup previously raised $12 million in September 2011, after grabbing $1.5 million in seed funding. Existing investors include Lerer Ventures, Tiger Global, First Round Capital and Menlo Ventures.

General Catalyst Partners appears to have led the latest round, as one of its partners, Joel Cutler, is now a member of Warby Parker’s board.

Warby Parker could not be reached for comment

(Image source: forme-foryou.com)

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