Optical network startup American Vision gets angel funding

American Vision Pvt Ltd, a Pune-based startup that aggregates optical stores, has raised Rs 55 lakh ($81,000) in its first external round of funding from two angel investors, its founder director Ajay G Kashikar told VCCircle.

The investors are owners of two distribution houses that deal in white goods and apparel based in Mumbai and Hyderabad, Kashikar said without disclosing their names. The Mumbai-based entity, which is a Rs 500-crore company, has committed to invest Rs 3 crore in the future to support the startup’s expansion plans, he added.

Kashikar said most of the amount raised would be used to upgrade the existing stores in Pune and for brand building. Part of the money will also be used to expand to Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh, he said.

The company is also at an advance stage of discussion with a VC firm to raise nearly $3 million (about Rs 20 crore), Kashikar said, without elaborating.

The company follows an asset-light model. It has tied up with about 150 individual opticians in Pune, which are then branded as an American Vision outlet. The startup brings all these outlets under one umbrella and also provides them an online platform.

The firm, which was launched in 2013, offers spectacles, sunglasses, contact lenses, and accessories for men, women and kids.

Kashikar had earlier worked at Melstar Singapore Pte Ltd, Standard Chartered Bank and Blue Star Ltd before launching the startup.

The company aims to create a chain of 15,000 such stores in next three to five years. Kashikar said his overall goal is to have one store in each of the 25,000 pin code areas in India.

Titan Eye, Vision Express and Lenskart are among the players with nationwide presence in India’s eye-wear retail sector. GKB, Himalaya, Lawrence & Mayo are the other players with 60 to 80 stores each in selected parts of the country.

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