- Lenskart plans to invest upto $2 million in eye technology startups over the next couple of years.
- Their investment would be made in eyewear technology brands across the globe and Lenskart would also mentor them.
- One of its pilot projects includes giving out the glasses to the customer on the spot instead of them taking the eye test and waiting for delivery.
- On the side, Lenskart is looking to hire over 2,000 people for tech, retail and corporate development teams in India and abroad.
- Lenskart has picked Singapore, Middle East and the United States for its bets
Even as eyewear brand Lenskart is all set to make segue into the international market, the company is looking to invest in new technology and ideas that could make its offering more compelling.
The decade-old company — which set up a Lenskart Vision Fund earlier in June this year — plans to invest upto $2 million in eye technology startups over the next couple of years. The total corpus of this fund is $20 million, which will be used to invest in 20 startups.
Bansal, in an interaction with Business Insider, said that he would be looking to invest in startups that are creating better eyewear for sports, phones, colourblind people or more. As a part of this process, the company has also set up a research and development (R&D) center here in India to develop products.
Though the company has not yet set up a concrete timeline to exhaust these funds, it claims to be underway to close 10 such deals by the end of 2022. Lenskart’s founder and chief executive (CEO) Peyush Bansal told Business Insider the company will look to invest in companies that are revolutionizing eye technology in any part of the world.
“The product research team is working on figuring out what a guy with a turban should wear because when the temples go inside a turban, it is uncomfortable. This is just an example of the problems we are working on,” Bansal added.
Lenskart Vision Funds’s investment so far:
|Company||Head office||What does it do?|
|Thin Optics||USA||Thin Optics makes light reading glasses that can be attached to phones, tabs and laptops.|
|Ditto||USA||Ditto offers a virtual try-on platform that allows customers to try out products online.|
|6over6||Israel||6over6 allows customers to take their own eye test online.|
|TangoEye||India||TangoEye is a video analytics platform that enables retailers to improve sales conversions, optimise product placement and more. The company reads CCTV footage to offer such data to retailers.|
What’s on the plate next?Lenskart claims to be underway to crack two more investment deals with Indian startups in the coming months.
“One of the companies that we are in talks with is quite phenomenal. It’s not out of India though. It creates simple styles that can be worn right away. Currently, one has to get an eye test done, then I go to the back to make those glasses and give it to the customers,” Bansal said, adding that they are piloting this technology and giving out these glasses to the customer on the spot.
The company will also offer its mentorship to these companies to grow. Bansal noted that they are not pushing these startups not generating revenue as they are tech product ideas. “We are only focused on developing them,” he added.
Any investments in an early stage startup would be made through Lenskart Vision Fund, whereas any acquisition or merger would be made through Lenskart’s main entity.
These acquisitions are not directly related to Lenskart’s international expansion plan but they would definitely bring in some strategic opportunities for the New Delhi-based company.
More money for hiring
Lenskart investment ambition also coincides with the company’s aggressive domestic and international expansion plans. The company is planning to hire over 2,000 employees in India to manage retail operations, technology operations, supply chain efforts and corporate functions.
Besides this, it is looking to hire another 300 in sales, marketing and product development teams to expand internationally in Singapore, Middle East and the United States. The company already has a presence in Singapore and the Middle East since August this year. It will launch in the USA in another 30-45 days.
Founded in 2010 by Bansal, Amit Chaudhary and Sumeet Kapahi, Lenskart is one of the largest retailers and manufacturers of eyewear in India with both online and offline presence. The company says that it serves over 10 million customers every year and nearly 30% share in India’s organised eyewear market.