Dealflow | May 1, 2015

Warby Parker Raises $100 Million for Bricks and Mortar Expansion

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Neal Blumenthal, CEO of Warby Parker, has long said that calling the designer eyewear company an “e-commerce brand was too narrow a definition.” He demonstrated that this week, raising $100 million to expand the company’s physical locations.  The financing valued the company at a cool $1.2 billion, according to theWall Street Journal.

The growth of Warby Parker, a certified B-Corp, follows the path of Toms Shoes, Patagonia, Chipotle, Honest Tea, and other consumer brands that integrate social and environmental values as a major feature of their business proposition.  (See “Buy One, Give One Pair of Trendy Eyeglasses.”)

But the company’s core business proposition may be even more powerful. The company has disrupted the eyewear industry by reducing the cost of glasses to consumers, cutting out middlemen and redefining the online consumer clothing experience.

Warby Parker is extending that experience back into the physical world with a retail experience based in the experience of aligning your eye wear with your values. Who knows, maybe the company could even make Google Glass cool after all.