India's Lenskart, an online eyewear retailer, has raised $220 million from investors including Temasek Holdings Pte and Falcon Edge Capital, in another sign of booming interest in interest in the country's tech startups.
Founded by Peyush Bansal in 2010, the company sells eyeglasses, contact lenses, and sunglasses online and through some 750 retail outlets across the country. It plans to use the capital, along with $ 95 million raised earlier this year from KKR & Co., to expand online sales and add brick-and-mortar stores in India, as well as Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
"Every vertical sector, from apparel to footwear, aside from eyewear, has been affected globally," Bansal, 37, said in a video call to announce the funding. "We could easily spend two decades solving the problem of awareness, penetration and affordability for glasses."
The founder said the startup's valuation is now $ 2.5 billion.
Bansal graduated from Montreal’s McGill University and then worked for Microsoft Corp. in the United States, before returning to India about a decade and a half ago to become an entrepreneur. He founded Lenskart Solutions Pvt, as the company is officially known, in the dusty industrial town of Faridabad, outside New Delhi, and secured initial support from Japan's SoftBank Group Corp.
Lenskart sold around 8 million pairs of glasses last year and aims to increase that by 30% in the year to March 2022. The company claims to be the largest seller of glasses in India and strives to become a leader in new geographies in Southeast Asia. and the Middle East. The combined market opportunity is expected to be more than $15 billion by 2025, the startup said in an announcement Monday.
India's tech industry is having an extraordinary year. Global investors are pouring billions of dollars into the country's startups, minting more unicorns than ever before.
Those investments are beginning to pay off. Zomato Ltd.'s food delivery app has become. The country's first unicorn company made its debut on the stock market, raising $.3 billion. Digital payments startup Paytm has submitted a draft prospectus for what could be the largest public offering in the country.
Bansal began its entrepreneurial endeavors with a startup that aims to solve housing problems for college students. But he soon realized that he could have a bigger impact on 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 that Lenskart is now profitable, despite the ups and downs during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
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