Mister Spex, the European ‘online optician’ (that’s an eyewear online retailer, to you and me), has picked up a new $40 million round in funding led by U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs.
The Berlin-based company’s existing backers also participated, including Scottish Equity Partners, XAnge, and DN Capital, while the fresh capital will be used to support Mister Spex’s “domestic and international growth plans”.
The site is currently active in Germany, Austria, France, UK and Spain, along with Sweden via a 2013 acquisition of online eyewear stores Lensstore and Loveyewear. It claims to be the largest in Europe.
A typical e-commerce play, Mister Spex lets customers buy a range of eyewear online, including designer glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses, besting traditional bricks ‘n’ mortar stores with more competitive pricing afforded by it through economies of scale and moving the shopping experience online. A good comparison might be what Amazon has done to bookstores.
The eyewear market was also ripe for disruption in 2007 when Mister Spex was founded, given the artificially high price of designer frames. In 2013, the company made a turnover of 47 million euro, and claims to have racked up more than one million customers in Europe.
Meanwhile, Mister Spex’ more than 300 staff includes a team of opticians who are available to advise customers by phone or email, hence the ‘online optician’ positioning. The company also has its own optician shop, where it says the final production and quality control of glasses takes place.