Lenskart, an eyewear retail company is in talks for securing $350 million in fresh funding through the world’s largest tech investor SoftBank Vision Fund. The company is expected to be valued at $1.3 billion after the funding, which is a huge leap over from its previous evaluation of $460-470 million, cites source.
Reportedly, the deal will facilitate the startup to join the unicorn club, which has grown extensively, over the past year. It will be SoftBank’s second bet on vertical e-commerce business, if the deal materializes. SoftBank also invested $150 million in FirstCry, baby products retailer, which also runs brick and mortar stores. SoftBank’s move comes on the heel of Private Equity firm Carlyle Group’s interest in Lenskart but the talks fell through as firm proposed valuation ($700 million) much lower than the company’s expectations.
For the record, Lenskart is a specialized web retailer that runs on omnichannel strategy. Other online retailers like beauty product seller Nykaa, furniture sellers Pepperfry and Urban Ladder, baby product seller FirstCry, are also following the same trajectory.
The company’s strategy to scale up manufacturing & bring activity under control has allowed to double its production cycle, ensures faster inventory improvements along with greater array of products through moving into new product categories. This allows the company to control pricing of products, in a fragmented and underserved market, which is dominated by offline sellers.
As per credible sources, the eyewear company is expected to collect a revenue of Rs. 500 crores in the 2019 fiscal year, with approximately Rs. 70 crores in losses. In financial year 2016-17, according to documents filed with company’s registrar, the company reported a loss of Rs. 262. 87 crores. The total revenue collected in 2018 financial year was 310.98 crore.
Lenskart has recently entered Singapore and the company plans to open 50-60 stores within next 3 years, before expanding its market in Taiwan, Philippines and the Middle East.