MyOptique Group completes funding round

European online optical retailer MyOptique Group has secured additional investment for its Series C round. The backing came from two new investors – Korys and Beringea with additional funding from existing investor Cipio Partners and Silicon Valley Bank.

PRESS RELEASE

MyOptique Group, Europe’s leading online optical retailer, today announced it has secured £16 million (€20m) additional investment, bringing the total raised in its current Series C funding round to £35 million (€43m). At the same time it has posted its year end results, showing EBITDA profitability for the second year running.
The company celebrates its tenth birthday this year and estimates that its value proposition has saved the glasses wearing public over £40 million to date.
The latest investment came from two new investors; Korys and Beringea, manager of the ProVen VCTs, with additional funding from existing investor Cipio Partners and Silicon Valley Bank. Together with the initial Series C investment round from previous investors Acton Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Index Ventures, the £35m (€43m) round is one of the five biggest UK technology venture capital investments of 2014. It will be used to further finance marketing investment and expansion into Europe as well as acquisitions. There will also be investment in technology aimed at positioning the company at the forefront of innovation to achieve its mission of revolutionising the eyewear industry so that more glasses are bought direct than through traditional bricks and mortar stores.
Gross retail sales for the year ended April 2014 were reported at £34 million (€42m) with prescription glasses turnover leading growth in the business and projected to grow by over 50 per cent in the next 12 months. The business also continued its growth into Europe, with non-UK sales now accounting for nearly two-thirds of its turnover and placing it as the clear pan-European leader in its sector. From its first significant injection of venture capital in 2009, the company has achieved an average annual revenue growth rate of 53% over the last five years and recently served its millionth customer.
MyOptique Group is a full service optical business, providing branded and own brand prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses via a portfolio of international websites including Glasses Direct, Sunglasses Shop, LensOn and MyOptique. The past 12 months has seen the launch of sunglasses and prescription eyewear on LensOn in the Nordic market and the launch of LensOn contact lenses into the UK market. The rapid growth in prescription glasses sales has largely been fuelled by brands developed in-house, now accounting for the top two selling brands on Glasses Direct; London Retro and Scout, with a further three labels planned for the autumn. London Retro itself has seen annual sales growth of over 100% since its launch in 2011.
Kevin Cornils, MyOptique CEO, commented: “The offline European optical market is valued at over €25 billion today. However, while over half of consumers now buy books online, and nearly 20 per cent of apparel is now bought online, only 2 per cent of people currently buy their glasses online – meaning that the potential is massive as consumers follow the trends in other categories. This additional capital will allow the MyOptique Group to dramatically accelerate our growth and enter new markets to strengthen our dominant position in Europe.”
Korys CEO Vincent Vliebergh commented: “We are delighted to support the continuous growth of MyOptique, which has already reached a leading position in its core markets through its innovative business model. We are truly excited to join forces with a top level management team and reputed group of investors.”
“MyOptique has led the way in disrupting the eyewear market, a sector in dire need of fundamental change,” added Trevor Hope, Chief Investment Officer for Beringea. “We are excited to be partnering with an exceptional team who have developed a fantastic value for money, convenient consumer offering whilst delivering a highly professional service.”
MyOptique Group is a Future Fifty company, a Government initiative for leading high growth tech companies. MyOptique’s existing investor partners have backed a number of Europe’s biggest winners: Acton Capital (My Theresa, Zooplus, Etsy), Cipio Partners (eCircle, Bravofly, buyVIP), Highland Capital Partners (Vistaprint, Matches Fashion, PhotoBox, Moonpig), and Index Ventures (ASOS, net-a-porter, Skype, Farfetch, Just Eat). GB Bullhound and Wilmer Hale advised on the deal.
Notes for editors:
About MyOptique Group
MyOptique Group is revolutionising the £20 billion European optical industry by cutting out the high street middle man – and providing its customers with a superior service and significant savings. The group is the clear European leader in the growing online optical segment with a full offering covering all three major segments in the eyewear market – prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses – via its Glasses Direct, Sunglasses Shop, LensOn and MyOptique websites.
About Korys
Korys is the investment structure of the Colruyt family. The family has been active in the retail sector for over 50 years and grew the Colruyt Group to become one of the most successful food retail and food services companies in Europe. Korys aims to create sustainable value through a diversified portfolio of investments and focuses on sectors in which it has built substantial expertise such as Consumer and retail, Renewable energy and Life sciences.
About Beringea
Beringea is an international growth capital firm with offices in London and Michigan, which invests in high growth companies. Beringea’s London office manages a number of funds, including the ProVen VCTs. Beringea is a generalist investor with sector expertise in Media, Healthcare and Retail. Beringea’s previous investments have included Fjordnet, Espresso Education, Saffron Digital and Mergermarket. Beringea LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For more information, visit www.beringea.com.
About the ProVen VCTs
The ProVen VCTs (ProVen VCT, ProVen Growth & Income VCT and ProVen Planned Exit VCT) are funds raised under the government’s Venture Capital Trust scheme for supporting UK SMEs with equity investment. The original Ordinary share issues of ProVen VCT and ProVen Growth & Income VCT have generated higher Total Returns to investors than any other VCT share issues in their respective launch years, according to www.taxefficientreview.com.

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