IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing Rs 171 crore in Indian eyewear company Lenskart, to help the company expand access to high-quality and affordable eye-care products in tier-3, tier-4 cities. IFC was the lead investor for the Rs 400 crore Series D investment round which also saw participation from TPG Growth, Adveq Management and IDG Ventures. In addition, Ratan Tata and Kris Gopalakrishnan (co-founder of Infosys) invested in their personal capacity as part of this round. Avendus Capital was the exclusive financial advisor to this transaction.
Lenskart is into assembly, manufacturing, wholesale distribution and supply of high quality eyewear products, such as eyeglasses, power sunglasses and contact lenses. Company plans to utilize the funds for strengthening its technology, supply chain, lens manufacturing, and expanding reach of its high-quality eyewear products across 400 cities.
Peyush Bansal, Founder and CEO of Lenskart said: “IFC is a long-term partner with global knowledge and a broad network of Internet, technology and healthcare clients, including in the eye care space. We appreciate IFC for their support to our vision of ‘Lenskart glasses in every home’”. We will be able to draw on IFC’s extensive global experience in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors, particularly in supply chain development and capacity building to realize its potential and develop best practices, he further added.
“The Lenskart investment is a part of IFC’s Venture Capital group’s strategy to invest in innovative Internet, Healthcare and Technology companies across emerging markets,” said Pravan Malhotra, IFC’s co-lead for Global Internet Investments and lead for VC investments in South and Southeast Asia. “This investment will support a rapidly growing market leader in the Internet sector, while meeting a significant gap in the Indian eye care market,” he added. As part of this investment, he will join Lenskart’s Board of Directors.
Lenskart has adopted a unique omni-channel approach there by making eyewear truly accessible by making it available ondesktop, mobile, hypermarkets, high streets, malls, hospitals and now even at home. The company conducts over 1,500 eye exams daily through its home eye exam service which it intends to make available for every home in urban and rural India.
Lenskart with its special focus on skill development and entrepreneurship development in India, gets people certified by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). It runs skill development programs across four cities for training people on operating complex machinery required for manufacturing lenses as well as conducting accurate eye exams. It has over 100 business partnerswho run and operate stores and plans to partner with another 1000 entrepreneurs in the next three years. The companyencourages women entrepreneurs under the Stand Up India scheme where it helps them get bank loans to become entrepreneurs.
Lenskart has been relentless about its focus on customer centricity. The company has built a strong leadership team, all of who work with the single mission of ‘creating enthusiastically satisfied customers all the time’. It has roped in professional stalwarts from retail, marketing and digital industries to head the respective divisions. The company will continue hiring great talent, particularly in technology.
Founded in 2010, Lenskart is India’s largest online retailer of premium quality and stylish eyewear, offering over 10,000 different styles to suit all pocket sizes and diverse consumer needs. With a unique click and mortar business model, Lenskart is revolutionizing the eyewear industry by offering disruptive services like Free Home Eye check-up, 3D Try On, Free Home Trial and First Frame Free among others. Through innovative technology and a deep focus on consumer satisfaction, Lenskart has grown more than 200% year on year in the last 2 years, to be among the top 3 optical businesses in India. With a rapidly growing employee strength of more than 900, Lenskart is present in over 100 stores across more than 66 cities in India. Lenskart has been funded by three venture capitalists till date, namely IDG Ventures ($4 million in October 2011) and Ronnie Screwvala-led Unilazer Ventures ($10 million in February 2013) and TPG Growth & TR Capital ($22 million in January 2015).
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. India is IFC’s top country exposure, globally. IFC’s committed portfolio in India is over $5 billion as of June 30, 2015. In FY15, IFC committed $1.4 billion in new investments. In addition to strengthening local capital markets in India, IFC is focused on boosting financing in infrastructure and logistics, promoting financial inclusion, helping create conditions to attract increased private capital, and helping structure public-private partnerships.
IFC is world’s largest multilateral investor in the private health-care sector in emerging markets. In the past, IFC has made investments in the eye care sector across several markets globally including EyeQ in India, Aier in China, Magrabi in Egypt and Sala Uno in Mexico. In India, IFC’s venture capital group has supported a number of healthcare companies like Portea, EyeQ and Nephroplus. IFC is also building a portfolio of market leading internet companies that include BigBasket in India, Netshoes in Brazil, Souq in the Middle East and Hepsiburada in Turkey.