TMT
By
Lenskart walks into unicorn club with SoftBank Vision Fund investment
Photo Credit: Reuters

SoftBank Vision Fund is injecting $275 million (Rs 1,956 crore) into online-to-offline eyewear retailer Lenskart, as it continues to pour a heavy amount of capital into Indian companies.

The transaction will include a few of Lenskart’s early investors trimming their stake, it said in a statement.

Lenskart said it will use the primary capital to augment technological capabilities and strengthen its supply chain infrastructure. It didn’t give a break-up of the fresh fund infusion and the secondary share purchase.

“Technology and AI (artificial intelligence) are the biggest enablers in what we do and want to achieve. Our strategy is to continuously push the bar in customer experience and surprise our customers,” said Peyush Bansal, founder of Lenskart.

Lenskart had raised its last institutional round of funding in 2018 from Hong Kong-based hedge fund Steadview Capital, tech investment firm Epiq Capital and secondaries specialist TR Capital. That transaction had valued the Ratan Tata-backed eyewear retailer around Rs 3,400 crore ($495 million).  

The company didn’t specify its valuation in the latest round. However, multiple media reports said its valuation jumped to $1.5 billion, powering the company into the unicorn club of startups.

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

The eyewear retailer was founded in 2008 by 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.

The company had set up its first offline store in January 2014, in Chandigarh. Now, it has 500 stores across 100 cities.

Over the years, it launched a host of online businesses including Bagskart.com, Watchkart.com and Jewelskart.com, which it shut down by December 2014 to focus on its core business.

The retailer also invested in US-based reading glasses maker ThinOptics in May last year.

SoftBank's $100-billion Vision Fund has invested in a number of Indian companies including payments firm Paytm, ride-hailing firm Ola and hospitality startup OYO. 

In one of its latest transactions this year, it backed US-based fintech firm C2FO, which operates a marketplace that provides working capital to companies and counts India as its fastest-growing market.

Leave Your Comment(s)