Indian Lenskart, an online eyewear retailer, has raised $ 220 million from investors such as Temasek Holdings Pte and Falcon Edge Capital, another sign of growing interest in the country’s tech startups.
Founded by Peyush Bansal in 2010, the company sells eyeglasses, contact lenses and sunglasses online and in around 750 retail outlets nationwide. It plans to use the capital, along with $ 95 million raised earlier this year from KKR & Co., to expand online sales and add physical stores in India, as well as Southeast Asia and in the Middle-East.
“Every industry, from clothing to footwear, except eyewear, has been turned upside down on a global scale,” Bansal, 37, said in a video call announcing the funding. “We can easily spend two decades solving the problem of eyewear awareness, penetration and affordability.”
The startup’s valuation is now $ 2.5 billion, the founder said.
Bansal graduated from McGill University in Montreal, then worked at Microsoft Corp. in the United States, before returning to India about fifteen years ago to become an entrepreneur. He set up Lenskart Solutions Pvt, the official name of the company, in the dusty industrial city of Faridabad, outside of New Delhi, and quickly gained support from Japanese firm SoftBank Group Corp.
Lenskart sold around 8 million pairs of eyewear last year and aims to increase that figure by 30% in the year ending March 2022. The company claims to be the largest eyewear seller in India and is looking to become the leader in the new geographic areas of Southeast Asia. and the Middle East. The combined market opportunity is expected to exceed $ 15 billion by 2025, the startup said in an announcement on Monday.
India’s tech industry is going through a year of disruption. Global investors are investing billions of dollars in startups nationwide, hitting more unicorns than ever before.
These investments are starting to pay off. The Zomato Ltd. food delivery app. became the country’s first unicorn to debut, raising $ 1.3 billion. Digital payments startup Paytm has filed a draft prospectus for what could be the country’s largest IPO.
Bansal began his entrepreneurial efforts with a startup aimed at solving student housing issues. But he quickly realized that he could have more of an impact in the sale of glasses.
“India is the blind capital of the world and about half of its 1.3 billion people need glasses,” he said.
He said Lenskart is now profitable, despite ups and downs during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
“We became profitable at the corporate level before the pandemic, were in the red during the peak of the first and second waves and went green again,” he said. The startup plans to invest in its supply chain and in new technologies. According to the company, a new manufacturing facility in Rajasthan, western India, is the world’s largest ready-to-use prescription eyewear factory, manufacturing 150,000 pairs per day. working in eyewear, eye care and related retail segments. Its digital offerings include a virtual 3D tool to try on glasses, as well as artificial intelligence facial mapping to help recommend frames.
“The technology offers huge benefits to the entire eyewear industry,” Bansal said.
This story was posted from an agency feed with no text editing. Only the title has been changed.
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