Eyewear Startup Warby Parker Closes A $41.5M Round With J. Crew CEO


Here I am researching an “obligatory” story on Google Glass and their potential partnership with online eyewear site Warby Parker when news hits that they’ve closed a $41.5M Series B Round oversubscribed by J. Crew and American Express CEO Millard S. Drexler. The company has previously raised $50.3M bringing their total VC investments to $54.6M in just two years.

TechCrunch discovered an SEC filing last year under the name “Jand, Inc.” that showed $36.8M of this series B Round had been raised, lead by General Catalyst with Joel Cutler joining the startups board of directors. The New York Times today reported that Spark Capital, Tiger Global Management, Thrive Capital, Lerer Ventures and Menlo Ventures also joined in with Drexler.

In addition to Warby Parker’s potential partnership with Google Glass, 2013 is proving to be the year of the eyewear as we just reported 9 days ago that startup Rivet & Sway has raised $1.5M Seed Round lead by Instagram investor Baseline Ventures to compete with Warby Parker at a slightly richer $199 price range. Just last December, Lema21 raised $2.1M to do the same thing from Brazil.

I’m sure that the world wide web has enough eyes for both of them.

As we reported in our 2012 Fashion Tech Industry Report, about 92% of all investment dollars went to ecommerce companies last year and shoe companies like JustFab proved to be the big winners. Michael Carney of PandoDaily suggested online shoe sales have been successful because they ship in boxes much like the tech products we’re already accustomed to ordering online.

Only 1% of eyewear was purchased online when Warby Parker was founded in 2010 but solving the test and return dilemma has earned eyewear just as much online success as their boxed brethren.

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