Reinventing over-the-counter eyewear as the "Perfect Fashion Accessory".
Raised to Date: Raised: $0
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RegCF / RegD 506(c)
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At time of publication, July 3rd, Look Optic had raised $145K
In recent years, “Warby Parker,” has proven that the ability to not only compete, but even beat the long standing reign of Luxottica as the owner of the eyeglass market. For years, Luxottica had boosted up prices and diminished a focus on customer experience, as they found ways to monopolize a space many didn’t pay attention to.
As Warby Parker has reinvigorated the traditional eyeglass market, Look Optic is setting its sights on doing the same thing for eyeglass readers. The reality is, millions of Americans are in need of reading glasses but don’t do so because the cost and time associated with traditional eye doctors and glasses is just too high and too burdensome.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have cheap, end-of-aisle glasses you find at CVS that most people associate with Grandma and Grandpa. Not exactly a product that anyone under the age of 60 might want to associate with.
Look Optic is on a mission to bring the Warby Parker, high end luxury good experience to the eyeglass readers market, at an attainable price. Gone are the days of being ripped off for $500 on a pair of glasses that cost pennies to make or buying $5 glasses at CVS that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing around family or friends.
With a trend in eyeglass wear to be fashion forward and customer-centric, Look Optic is designing a direct-to-consumer reader eyeglass brand with real staying power.
A Real Market Opportunity
Look Op tic is playing in the $26 BILLION U.S. vision correction market, which doesn’t begin to include the 13 million consumers that never get help because of the burden of dealing with doctors, and costly lenses.
The company’s target demographic, Gen X-ers and millennials, are beginning to reach the age when vision starts to decline, and the need for readers will be ever more important as we deal with the stress and strain of utilizing so many screens in our everyday lives.
At a $68 price point for reading glasses, which is below the ~$100 price point for Warby Parker prescription glasses, but above the low-end store brand readers helps to positions the company’s offerings as a premium readers brand.
With on-trend, high fashion direct-to-consumer brands driving significant VC dollars, be it Warby Parker with over $200M raised, Bonobos in the custom clothing space that was acquired for $310M by Walmart, and Untuckit, in the men’s fitted shirt space that has raised over $30M including from Kleiner Perkins, Look Optic is positioned well to find follow-on investment and acquisition down the road.
Signs of success
Last year the company generated revenues of $465,000 across 2,600 customers (an average spend per customer of $178 — far above their average price meaning customers are buying more than one or coming back for more).
This respectable top-line growth has continued into this year, where the company recorded revenue growth of 213% in Q1 compared to 2017. The team projects sales of ~$2M by end-of-year 2018, and $14.5M by 2020. This type of growth is within the realm of possibility driven by two factors.
First off, the team has largely driven growth to date through distribution deals with many high end boutique shops and retailers. These include high-end retailers likes Bloomingdale’s and boutique museum gift shops like the Guggenheim to name a few.
Second, the team is focusing heavily on building one of the first direct-to-consumer brands in the reader eyewear market. As they begin to ramp investment into marketing the e-commerce website, growth will begin to come disproportionately from this portion of the business.
Having dug into their financials, it appears that the team is producing gross margins of ~57%, which this early on is relatively competitive, especially for a consumer brand with competition.
However, competition is a relative word in this scenario as the best direct competitor EyeBobs has a price point almost double that of Look Optic, and most other competitors such as Readers.com and Blue Planet Eyewear are very low end options.
With an attractive price point, a strong set of distributor partnerships that keep SG&A relatively low and competitive gross margins, this is a team that can find profitability at scale.
The founding team comes with long tenures in prior roles. Jonathan Saven has a background in fashion including a stop as CFO, COO and President of Splendid & Ella Moss, which was acquired during his time in leadership. Andrew Leary, has been the CEO of Ipsos SMX, which has over $2.5B in global annual revenues, a social media engagement company for major brands, and has focused his his career on marketing to and connecting with consumers.
A Deal To Watch
LOOK OPTIC is a fast-growing premium reading-glass brand looking to capture its piece of the eyewear market while seeking to grow that market by making it easy for those that need reading glasses to get them.
It is already generating significant revenue growth and has a strong management team in place. We have placed this as a deal to watch, rather than as a top deal for one simple fact. Developing a direct to consumer brand can be very expensive and Look Optic is only starting to experiment with growing this portion of the business.
If acquisition cost of online consumers ends up more expensive than estimated it could be years to profitability and require further investment rounds to build a scaled user base. Nonetheless, the approach to date has been cost effective through more traditional retail channels, and Look Optic has shown product market fit, all of which are promising.
If you are a fashion-forward investor actively investing in this space, Look Optic is a great fit for your portfolio, and we do think the valuation cap of $6M is reasonably priced to leave room for future upside. No matter what, this is a DEAL TO WATCH and warrants further consideration for investment.