Warby Parker tries on an IPO
The Future. Warby Parker scored big in its public offering, netting a valuation of over $6 billion. But even though Warby is already a DTC success story, it may need to figure out how to perform its own eye exams and write prescriptions if it wants far-sighted growth.
Finances in focus
In true DTC fashion, Warby Parker — the prescription eyewear company that lets customers try on glasses at home before purchasing — is going public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) via a direct listing.
- The online retailer is trading under the ticker WRBY.
- The reference price for the shares was suggested at $40 before opening.
- But the shares started trading at $54.05 and mostly hovered around that price.
Warby Parker has positioned itself as a success story in the DTC space, with two million active customers and revenue reaching around $400 million. At day’s end, Warby Parker hit a valuation of $6.8 billion.
Despite the good day, analysts note that Warby needs to expand its offerings if it wants to grow… and figure out what to do about the pesky need for eye tests and securing a prescription before most customers plop down cash for new glasses.
- To combat this, the company is expanding its brick-and-mortar footprint, which already stands at 145 stores.
- Further, Warby is pushing new tech that allows customers to renew their existing prescription from home in about ten minutes.
- And finally, it’s in the process of hiring doctors to eventually offer virtual eye exams for new prescriptions.
With 66% of customers buying glasses at the same location where they get their eye exams, crossing that hurdle may be the prescription to profitability.