SoftBank-backed Lenskart wins new investment from KKR
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Private equity firm KKR & Co Inc said on Monday it will invest $95 million (Rs 696 crore) in eyewear retailer Lenskart.  

The deal, which will take place through a secondary stake acquisition, will help Lenskart expand operations across India and abroad and enhance technology offerings to customers.  

Lenskart’s early investors TPG Growth and TR Capital will sell a portion of their holdings, the companies said in a joint statement.  

“We are thrilled to welcome KKR as an investor given their significant experience working with leading global eyewear retailers such as National Vision and 1-800 Contacts as well as technology-focused businesses globally,” Peyush Bansal, CEO of Lenskart, said.  

“In the next five years, we aspire to have 50% of India wearing our specs. Today’s announcement is a milestone and a step towards that goal,” Bansal added. 

In October last year, Avendus Capital, a leading investment bank majority-owned by KKR, invested between $5 million and $10 million to acquire a stake in the online-to-offline eyewear retailer. Avendus Capital bought the stake from media entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures.  

Avendus Capital advised Lenskart on the deal.  

Lenskart became a unicorn in December 2019 after raising $275 million from SoftBank Vision Fund. 

Prior to that, it secured funding in 2018 from Hong Kong-based hedge fund Steadview Capital, tech investment firm Epiq Capital and secondaries specialist TR Capital. 

The company also counts TPG Growth, International Finance Corporation, PremjiInvest, Adveq Management and Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan among its investors. 

The eyewear retailer was founded in 2008 by Peyush Bansal, Amit Chaudhary, Neha Bansal and Sumeet Kapahi. In addition to the online platform, it has a wholesale division engaged in assembly, distribution and supply of eyewear. 

Earlier in the month, KKR recorded a 63% surge in its first-quarter after-tax distributable earnings, driven by growth in its capital markets business and public market holdings.  

It will make its investment in Lenskart from its Asian private equity fund.  Having been launched in 2005, KKR’s Asia Pacific private equity platform takes a flexible investment approach with the ability to pivot across sectors and markets. 

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