Eyewear company Warby Parker files confidentially for U.S. listing

Business

New York-based Warby Parker has confidentially filed for a stock market listing in the United States, the eyewear company said on Tuesday, as it looks to cash in on the boom in online commerce.

As consumers shift to digital modes of shopping, companies including Warby, which was last valued at $3 billion after a funding round in 2020, are seeking to attract investors at a time the stock market has seen a record appetite for new listings.

Warby, known for its fashionable eyewear, was founded in 2010 by four classmates at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, after one of them on a backpacking trip found the cost of replacing eyeglasses was too high.

The company, which sells prescription eyewear starting at $95, also has a brick-and-mortar presence in several markets in the United States and Canada.

First established as an online brand, Warby has been expanding its real estate footprint since opening its first store in 2013, despite the pandemic having accelerated the shift away from brick-and-mortar outlets.

The company raised $245 million in a funding round last year and is on track to open 35 new stores this year, its co-chief executive officers, Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, told the Wall Street Journal last month.

Warby, which did not give any indication of the size of its proposed offering, counts Tiger Global Management, General Catalyst, Baillie Gifford and D1 Capital Partners among its backers.

Companies often file confidentially to withhold information about their financial strength from rivals for a longer period.