The IPO of food delivery giant Zomato may be the talk of the town in the start-up sector, but other companies are moving forward to make the headlines as well. 2021 has become the golden year for the Indian start-up ecosystem and its future is looking bright. This time, India’s omni-channel eyewear retailer Lenskart has made news after it closing a $220-million funding round from investors including Falcon Edge Capital and Temasek Holdings, valuing the firm at $2.5 billion.
The latest funding round includes primary and secondary transactions and comes up at $315 million, including the $95 million Lenskart had raised earlier from the global investment fund KKR. Bay Capital and Chiratae also participated in the new round.
According to the Bengaluru-based Lenskart, the proceeds from the funding round will be utilized to make investments in its supply chain, new technologies and expand in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It aims to become the leading player in eyewear in these regions over the next 18 to 24 months through organic and inorganic expansion and leveraging the expertise of Temasek and Falcon Edge. The combined market opportunity for eyewear in these regions will be about $15 billion by 2025, Lenskart said.
It also aims to utilize capital and invest in technology and AI-driven innovations to create a highly personalized experience for its customers.
Backed by SoftBank, the 11-year-old Lenskart has risen to new heights last year, after selling about 8 million products in 2020. Its varied range of eyeglasses and contact lenses was sold throughout the 750 physical outlets across the country, and the company saw a rise in sales of eyewear products last year, said Peyush Bansal, founder, and CEO of Lenskart. It claims to serve over seven million customers every year.
“India is the blind capital of the world and about half of its 1.3 billion people need glasses,” Bansal said, adding that they “turned profitable at the company level before the pandemic, were in the red during the peak of the first and second waves and have returned to green again.” Recently, the firm launched the “Lenskart Vision Fund” with a corpus of about $20 million, enabling it to invest in start-ups that are synergistic to eyewear, eye-care, and omni-channel retail to create a deep ecosystem around the eyewear segment.
“We are thrilled to join Peyush and his team in this journey and look forward to working closely with Lenskart’s team in helping them scale their business internationally, especially in the MENA region,” said Navroz Udwadia, co-founder and partner at Falcon Edge Capital, in a statement.