Online eyewear firm Lenskart is planning to invest about $2-3 million in tech or product companies who are working on eyecare solutions, be it an innovative eye examination machine or some kind of a lens technology, as reported by ET. As part of this strategy, the Ratan Tata-backed firm aims to collaborate in the development of innovative products. The company has invested $500,000 (about Rs 3.3 crore) in US-based ThinOptics as part of this initiative. ThinOptics makes innovative reading glasses that can be attached to a user's phone or keychain, so that the user can't misplace it.
In Dec 2017, it had picked up a minority stake in Israel-based 6over6 for $1 million. 6over6 allows consumers to determine the power of their lenses fitted in their eyeglasses through a smartphone application. In September 2017, Lenskart had invested similar amount in US-based Ditto, which develops 3D face model for Lenskart’s virtual trial service. In Feb 2018, Lenskart announced a strategic investment of $ 4 million in affordable-premium eyewear brand John Jacobs who has established itself as one of the leading premium eyewear brands in India.
With its latest investment in ThinOptics, Lenskart plans to bring innovative designs to Indian consumers at more affordable prices.
Founded in 2010 by Peyush Bansal, Lenskart currently operates 410 stores apart from its online sales and claims to ship 3,00,000 eyewear units per month. Last year, the company had also announced its plans to launch its initial public offer by 2020 to provide an exit option to existing shareholders.
Last month, Lenskart’s existing investor TR Capital has raised its stake to 10% post secondary share sale. TR Capital has acquired shares from TPG Growth and Unilazer Alternative Ventures LLP through its TR Capital III.
Lenskart majorly competes with Titan Eyewear and a few other offline players in the segment.
The other startups who are providing eyecare solutions are Bangalore-based Drishti & Remidio Innovative Solutions Pvt Ltd. Drishti raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Infosys co founder Nandan Nilekani in June 2016 and Remidio secured series B round of funding from domestic HNIs and Cipher-Plexus Capital Advisors in Jan 2016.