One month after revealing a goal to expand to 100 U.S. stores, Warby Parker has unveiled how it plans on funding this level of growth. The eyewear retailer has raised $75 million, bringing its total funding to date to nearly $300 million.
T. Rowe Price, an asset management firm, led the Series E round. Warby Parker said it plans to use the money for research and development and technology investments. One recent initiative is the Prescription Check mobile app, which lets eligible customers complete vision tests at home and acquire a new prescription without having to visit an eye doctor in person.
The new funding values the New York City-based company at $1.75 billion, according to a Recode report. Yet despite this impressive valuation, Warby Parker still covers less than 1% of the U.S. market share for eyewear, according to Co-Founder and Co-CEO Dave Gilboa, meaning there is significant room for growth.
Gilboa said Warby Parker will be profitable for the first time in 2018.He attributed the profitability breakthrough to accelerating revenue growth, supply chain improvements and the opening of the company’s new $16 million Optical Lab, which pulls more assembly work in-house while boosting gross margins.
The company’s growth has fueled speculation that the brand will seek an IPO in the future. But for now, Gilboa admitted that investments in future products and services are sometimes “easier to make as a private company.”
The retailer’s ability to raise funds spells good news for omnichannel brands that grew as online-only retailers before building out brick-and-mortar presences, such as Indochino, Casper and UNTUCKit. Like Bonobos after Walmart acquired the fashion retailer last year, Warby Parker now has additional resources to scale out effectively across all channels.