IFC to invest $25m in online eyewear startup Lenskart for its offline expansion into 100 cities in India

Visual from the lenskart website. October 2015

International Finance Corp., the private lending arm of the World Bank, is investing $25 million in equity in Lenskart Solutions Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based e-commerce site for prescription glasses and frames.

The funding is part of Lenskart’s ongoing round. In December, it raised $22 million in a series C round from TPG Capital, Hong Kong-based TR Capital and existing investor IDG Ventures, that valued the firm at around $100 million.

IFC said in a filing that the funds will help the company expand its distribution via franchise partners to about 100 small towns and cities, referred to as tier 2 and 3, across India.

This is IFC’s second major investment in the Indian e-commerce space after it put in $25 million in online grocery store BigBasket in October.

Lenskart is seeking to aggressively expand offline, to widen its reach in places where online connectivity is an issue. Currently it offers eye check-up service at customer’s homes in 10 cities. The company has also invested in improving technology so that customers have a better experience online, including virtual 3D.

About 500 million people in the country need prescription eyeglasses, out of which only a third have access to it. The rest are left out because of lack of medical diagnosis, access or affordability. The majority of India’s eyewear market — valued at $2 billion and growing at 35 per cent every year — is unorganised and fragmented. These are the two main issues that Lenskart is trying to address.

While the site sells high-end products like Ray-Ban, more than 90 per cent of its revenue comes from more affordable, in-house brands such as Vincent Chase. Its range of eyewear starts at Rs 500, with average ticket price of about Rs 1,200.

Lenskart, run by Noida-based Valyoo Technologies Pvt Ltd, was founded in 2008 by Peyush Bansal, Amit Chaudhary, Neha Bansal and Sumeet Kapahi. It had raised $4 million in its first round of funding in 2011 from IDG Ventures.

Last year, the company closed down three sites viz., Jewelskart.com, Bagskart.com and Watchkart.com, which could not stand out in India’s competitive e-commerce landscape, and suffered from low traction and mounting financial losses.

Also read:

IDFC Bank picks nearly 10% stake in microfinance company ASAI India

Insurance policy aggregator Easypolicy raises $2.2m from Unilazer Ventures, others

DailyObjects raises $1.4m from Unilazer, Peyush Bansal & Phanindra Sama

 

 

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.