Hot on the heels of a new $40 million round in funding led by U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs, the European online optician Mister Spex has acquired the Norwegian contact lens online retailer Lensit.no. This is the startup’s third Scandinavian acquisition after it purchased Sweden’s Lensstore and Loveyewear back in 2013.
However, unlike the eyewear it sells, Mister Spex is being less than transparent about the deal: the acquisition price for Lensit remains undisclosed, and the company was unable to provide further details on what exactly is being acquired, whether this is a cash or stock deal (or both), and whether or not the founders of Lensit are staying on. How very European, you might say…
Meanwhile, Berlin-headquartered Mister Spex is willing to wax lyrical about its financials, announcing that it has generated 65 million Euros of revenue in 2014, up from 47 million in 2013, meaning that the company is now in the “black”.
That tallies with the notion that its latest round of funding is about accelerating international expansion (not least via acquisition, it seems) and firming up its leading position in Europe, where it claims 1.5 million customers.
Already active in Germany, Austria, France, UK, Spain, Sweden, and now Norway, Mister Spex is a typical e-commerce play, enabling customers to 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.
As I’ve noted before, a good comparison might be what Amazon did to bookstores. When Mister Spex was founded in 2007, the eyewear market was also ripe for disruption, given the artificially high price of designer frames.