A million years ago (ok, back in 2005), Glasses Direct was founded in the UK. It wasn’t quite Warby Parker, but it did help pioneer the whole wave of online optometrist startups. Now the business behind Glasses Direct, Sunglasses Shop and LensOn brands has gone back to its existing investor pool to raise new funds, closing an £8 million investment round to grow internationally and expand through acquisition.
Index Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Acton Capital Partners led the deal, along with new backers Cipio Partners and GP Bullhound Sidecar. MyOptique’s last funding round was £10 million in December 2012. Between 2007 and 2011 it raised £20 million.
Maurice Helfgott of Amery Capital and a non-executive director of stock market-listed Moss Bros, joins as chairman to provide experience in fashion retailing.
The move also spells the end of founder Jamie Murray Wells’ involvement, as he steps down as Director and Chairman following the sale of the majority of his shares to Cipio Partners.
The company says it is in its second year of profitability and predicts gross retail sales to be £35 million during this year.
MyOptique bought Sunglasses Shop in 2011 and covers products from sun wear through contact lenses.
Kevin Cornils, chief executive of MyOptique, says the company now has a full service optical business that spans eight European markets, serving over 800,000 customers, and shipping an order every 40 seconds.
MyOptique has also developed two designer eyewear brands, London Retro and Scout, which are the fastest growing brands on Glasses Direct and which will be further developed as part of the expansion plans.
The past 12 months has seen the launch of sunglasses and prescription eyewear on LensOn in the Nordic market, the launch of LensOn contact lenses into the UK market, and the introduction of a new London Retro Collection, titled Metropolitan.