Eyewear manufacturer Lenskart and Japanese Direct-to-Consumer eyewear brand Owndays on Thursday announced a strategic merger to build the region’s largest Omni-channel eyewear business. This will take the group’s reach to 13 markets in Asia including India, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan.
Lenskart did not disclose the value or financial details of the transaction. However, the current major shareholders of OWNDAYS including L Catterton Asia and Mitsui & Co., Principal Investments will exit their positions to Lenskart.
Owndays’ Co-founders, CEO Shuji Tanaka, and COO Take Umiyama, will continue to be shareholders and lead the management team of Owndays Inc., which will continue to operate as a separate brand.
Founded in 1989, OWNDAYS is a leading eyewear brand in Asia headquartered in Japan and Singapore with around 460 stores across 13 markets in the region – Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, India, and the UAE. Aiming to become the global leader in the fast-fashion eyewear category, the company is focused on providing superior customer experiences through elements including fast service, a simple pricing model, and an extensive warranty system.
“Owndays has been recognized as the eyewear brand of choice across multiple countries in Asia ever since we opened our first overseas store, in Singapore in 2013. Our growth accelerated following L Catterton Asia’s and Mitsui & Co., Principal Investments’ participation in us in 2018, as we leveraged their strong commercial network in Japan and across the region to expand our operations to cover a total of 13 markets today. I believe digital transformation is the key to our next phase of growth in the post-pandemic operating environment and I am excited to partner with Lenskart, which has deep expertise and intellectual capital in the information technology field,” Owndays Founder and CEO Shuji Tanaka said in a statement.
Lenskart has been stepping up its expansion beyond its home turf through M&A deals and a large fundraiser of $200 million recently through its subsidiary that follows a house of brands strategy. Neso Brands, a subsidiary of eyewear manufacturer Lenskart, has raised $100 million in a seed funding round, which will enable the firm to create a house of brands catering to the global market.
Lenskart, which owns Singapore-headquartered Neso, has earlier raised large sums in funding from prominent investors such as KKR, SoftBank, Alpha Wave Global and Temasek. In a recent funding round in April, Lenskart was valued at more than $4 billion.
The eyewear start-up with its 300 people engineering team, estimated to scale up to 500 people in FY23, will help build a stronger online and Omni experience for OWNDAYS. The unicorn eyewear manufacturer has also been investing million of dollars in deeper supply chain integration and automation which will now be leveraged by both the brands to further enhance customer proposition and unit economics.
Lenskart added that it will continue its rapid expansion in India and South East Asia to serve the mass to mid-premium segments while OWNDAYS scales swiftly to cater to premium segments. LENSKART’s leadership in India and OWNDAYS’s strong geographical competitiveness in the South Asian markets have enabled the group to become the fastest growing Pan Asian eyewear company.
“With OWNDAYS we move a step closer to democratizing eyewear. I have known Shuji-san and Take-san for over five years and have been an admirer of the disruptive brand and customer experience they have built with OWNDAYS. To bring about a revolutionary change such as the one the world needs in eyewear, we need to work with like-minded and complementary founders…There is much we can achieve together which will be greater than the sum of its parts,” Peyush Bansal, Co-Founder, and Group CEO at Lenskart said in a statement.
Founded in 2010, Lenskart is the largest direct-to-consumer (D2C) eyewear brand in India. While only 10 years old, it has already changed eyewear retail behaviour in India with its high-fashion, value-for-money, and Omni channel business model. Lenskart claims to ship over 10 million pairs of eyewear every year and has over 20 million app downloads, 300 home eye test representatives as well as over 1,100 stores across India, Singapore, and Dubai.