European contact lens brand Waldo grabs $5 mln Series A


European contact lens brand Waldo has secured $5 million in Series A funding. The investors included PROfounders Capital and YYX Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

London, 30 July 2018 — Waldo, Europe’s first direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, has secured £3.7m/US $5m in Series A venture funding from transatlantic investors including PROfounders Capital and YYX Ventures in the UK, as well as Tectonic Capitaland Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen in the United States. This new investment will fuel ongoing international expansion in Europe and the US – just ten months after launching in the United Kingdom.

Waldo was founded by Ashleigh Hinde, 29, (pictured above) with a mission to provide the highest quality lenses to its customers without the price, hassle or friction involved with traditional distribution channels. As a long time lens-wearer, Ashleigh has designed the Waldo ecosystem in response to her personal experience ordering, obtaining and using other brands.

Waldo ships its ultra-breathable daily lenses to customers within 48 hours of a simple click at hiwaldo.com. Then, each month, Waldo replenishes a customer’s supply of lenses as needed. Waldo customers can accelerate, pause or cancel their subscription at any time – or even upgrade to Waldo Vitamin, the UK’s first Vitamin enriched lenses designed to replenish especially dry and itchy eyes. After launching in the United Kingdom in August 2017, Waldo has earned the trust of 50,000 daily lens wearers across 27 European countries. From today, Waldo invites customers in the United States to experience a better way to see the world at www.us.hiwaldo.com.

Last year, Waldo secured £1.3m of early funding from YYX Capital and Nigel Wray, amongst others – all of whom have continued to support Waldo through the latest round. Sean Seton-Rogers, general partner at PROfounders Capital said: ‘We firmly believe that Waldo has the ability to become a globally leading, digitally-native brand in the contact lens space.” Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen added: “Waldo disrupts a market dominated by big, established players with its customer-centric approach to selling and strong brand. We have been impressed with how quickly they have executed.”

Ashleigh Hinde, Waldo’s founder, said: “At the moment, the large pharmaceutical companies are dominating the industry, but they are too far from their customers. Despite contact lenses being such an intimate product and daily staple in the lives of millions of customers, the big brands in this space are not doing anything exciting. As we are seeing across the CPG industry, the brands that win are the brands that are in conversation with their customers, and able to develop products and services that solve their problems. Waldo’s mission is to leverage that and deliver a more customer-centric contact lens experience.”

About Waldo
Waldo is a direct-to-consumer contact lens brand that delivers high-quality daily contact lenses at an affordable price via an innovative and flexible online subscription. Founded by online entrepreneur Ashleigh Hinde, Waldo launched in the UK on 1 August 2017.

More information on Waldo’s lenses
In the UK, a month’s supply of Waldo’s contacts costs £12 per box, per eye, with free shipping on a fully flexible online subscription. Meanwhile, the UK and European high street optical retailers sell pharmaceutical daily lenses for at least 25% more than Waldo. In the US Waldo is able to undercut traditional retailers by up to 50% selling for $18 per box, per eye.

By streamlining its supply chain to cut out third party distributors and retailers, Waldo is able to keep costs down for consumers while ensuring it remains profitable. Key features of the Waldo lenses include a super fine edge design, greater moisture, UV protection, and beautifully boxed lenses that arrive within 48 hours of placing an online order when ordering from the UK. USA delivery time currently stands at 2-3 business days, while European customers will receive lenses within 2-7 days of ordering.
For more information, visit: hiwaldo.com

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