A timeline of Warby Parker’s decade-long path to a direct $ 6 billion + list
Direct-selling eyewear brand Warby Parker made its public market debut on Wednesday as a $ 6.78 billion company, more than a decade after its inception. PitchBook charted Warby Parker’s route to public markets, its current ownership allocation, and some key financial metrics.
Warby Parker has proven to be a very influential brand whose business model was quickly applied to commodities, from mattresses to sneakers. One of its co-founders would later launch Harry’s, which took a Warby Parker-style razor approach; another group of alumni started the Away baggage company.
The eyewear maker is one of a growing number of companies that have chosen to go public this year, joining Roblox and Squarespace. Data analytics firm Amplitude also finalized a direct quote this week, starting at a valuation of over $ 7 billion.
Warby Parker was co-founded by four bespectacled classmates from Wharton Business School: Neil Blumenthal, David Gilboa, Andy Hunt and Jeff Raider. Only Blumenthal and Gilboa remain with the company: Hunt is now a venture capitalist at Elephant and Raider is co-CEO at Harry’s.
Blumenthal and Gilboa, who share the CEO’s reins, have grown their eyewear empire and now hold stakes worth a combined $ 1.09 billion at Wednesday’s closing price, alongside a rights majority of vote.
Tiger Global, Warby Parker’s largest investor, led a $ 12.5 million Series A in the company in 2011 and would return to lead its Series C. His pre-direct listed holdings were worth $ 851.8 million. at the closing price.
In its early days, the eyewear saw its valuation increase rapidly, reaching $ 1.2 billion in 2015.
But signs of trouble for the company emerged in 2017, when John Hancock Investments and other mutual funds reportedly reduced their stake in Warby Parker to less than $ 1 billion. The company’s sales growth has slowed considerably since its early years, according to Bloomberg Second Measure, which tracks consumer transactions.
Despite the challenges, Warby Parker managed to raise two more significant funding rounds and reached a valuation of $ 3 billion in 2020.
In recent years, online retailers have increasingly relied on physical outlets to grow. It now operates 145 retail stores, which contributed around 65% of revenue in 2019 before the pandemic restrictions. In 2021, Warby Parker is on track to add up to 35 new stores.
In 2020, revenue grew only 6% year-over-year, in part due to the pandemic’s negative impact on in-store sales. Sales improved significantly in 2021, with revenue reaching $ 270.5 million in the first six months, up 53% from the same period last year.
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