Prescription Eyewear Ltd, the parent company of MyOptique.com, SunglassesShop.com and GlassesDirect.com, announced today that it has added LensOn, the leading Nordic online contact lens seller, to its growing portfolio of market-leading brands.
- LensOn is the leading independent online contact lens seller in Northern Europe, operating local language sites across Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK
- The acquisition re-affirms the Prescription Eyewear group as 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, sunglasses and contact lenses)
- The deal will also expand PEL’s already significant geographical footprint across Europe, with now more than 60% of sales coming from outside its home market in the UK
- Total annual unique visitors to the group’s websites in 2012 numbered approximately 8.2 million across 100+ countries and local sites in 12 different languages
- The combined group will have generated nearly £30m ($45m, €36m) of Gross Retail Sales in 2012 and is profitable
- Through November 2012 the group has served over 750,000 total customers, and currently ships over 2,000 pairs of glasses, sunglasses or contact lens orders a day, equating to a customer order shipped every 40 seconds
- Total staff in the group now numbers nearly 140 in the UK and Sweden
Founders Kim Persson and Johan Bergenheim will continue to manage the LensOn business and drive growth for the whole group in the Nordic region. The European eyewear market is estimated at over €25bn of which currently only 3-4% is online. As the optical market follows other high-growth ecommerce categories such as fashion and apparel towards online penetration rates closer to 10%, the Company has identified a €3-4 billion opportunity in the European online market over the next 3-5 years.
Prescription Eyewear Limited’s CEO Kevin Cornils comments, “We’re extremely excited to be adding the LensOn team and business into our portfolio of brands including Glasses Direct, Sunglasses Shop and MyOptique. LensOn has established itself as a strong player across the Nordic region and we look forward to working with them to grow their business not only into new European markets, but also to complement their current contact lens offering with prescription glasses and sunglasses. The deal also solidifies PEL’s position as the clear market leader in the fast-growing European online eyewear category and positions us well to take advantage of the significant shift we’re seeing as consumers increasingly choose the internet for the choice, value and convenience that it offers.”
Kim Persson, CEO of LensOn remarked, “PEL and its businesses will be a great partner for us as we look to continue our rapid growth across the Nordic markets and beyond. Their expertise and leading position in selling glasses and sunglasses online will enable us to greatly accelerate our efforts in those markets and provide a full-service offering to our customers. We also look forward to working with them to extend our business into the UK and continental European markets including Germany and France where the opportunity is significant.”
The LensOn acquisition caps a busy year for the PEL group that saw;
- The recent launch of myOptique.com, the first-of-its-kind premier eyewear site, offering a carefully curated mix of premium glasses and sunglasses featuring the world’s most sought-after brands for both men and women
- The launch of Sunglasses Shop into the US and Australian markets, bringing its international sales to over 50% of revenue
- The launch of Glasses Direct’s latest internally designed and developed house brand, Scout, brings the total number of created brands to 3, including the popular London Retro (vintage-inspired) and Element (eco-friendly)
- The addition of Dean Butler, founder of Vision Express (now part of the HAL group) and Lenscrafters (now part of Luxottica Retail) as a Non-Executive Director to its Board of Directors
The acquisition was financed by Prescription Eyewear’s existing venture capital investors, Acton Capital Partners (Etsy, Zooplus, MyTheresa, Linas Matkasse), Highland Capital Partners (VistaPrint, Qihoo, Lulu Lemon, Starent, Quigo) and Index Ventures (Skype, mySQL, Net-A-Porter, ASOS, Etsy, LoveFilm, Last.fm). Additional funding was received from GP Bull Hound Sidecar, Silicon Valley Bank and Kreos Capital. The company was advised by GP Bullhound on financing and Wilmer Hale on legals.
About the Companies
Prescription Eyewear Ltd’s portfolio includes the following market-leading websites:
Founded by Jamie Murray Wells, Glasses Direct is the UK’s leading online glasses retailer having established the market by focusing on innovations that transform the way that people buy glasses. Glasses Direct strives to offer its online customers a better experience than the high street, offering:
- Better Choice – Customers can browse hundreds of fashionable and affordable frames from designer and own-label collections. With the Unlimited Free Home Trial, you can try on your favourite frames in the comfort of your own home and get opinions from friends and family without the sales pressure.
- Unmatched Convenience – Glasses Direct gives you the choice to browse for frames whenever and wherever you want. Have your glasses delivered direct to your door, without having to travel back and forth to the opticians.
- Bigger Savings – Glasses Direct has saved the bespectacled British public over £40m to date. Customers can also receive a Free Second Pair on ALL frames costing £55 or more that that can also be used for friends and family.
- Faster Delivery – With 70% of orders shipped within 3 days from our own UK laboratory, customers receive their glasses when they really need them, rather than collecting them from the store in a couple of weeks.
- 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed – Glasses Direct offers free 14 day returns if you’re not satisfied with your order for any reason – or customers can talk to our helpful team of qualified opticians at any point.
Recently launched luxury online eyewear brand MyOptique.com is the new online destination for premium eyewear, offering a carefully curated mix of premium eyewear for both men and women
- The site hosts a range of designer brands including Prada, Miu Miu, Ray Ban, Gucci, DVF, Versace, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana and Thierry Lasry
- The team at MyOptique is passionate about providing the best optical technology available as well as the most luxurious online experience for time restricted consumers looking for unrivalled expert advice and up to the minute eyewear trends
- MyOptique provides inspiration for the discerning eyewear customer through its ‘Trends’ and ‘Eyewear Icons’ content and offers personalised advice through its Style Advisors to give the best possible customer experience
Founded by Kim Persson and Johan Bergenheim, LensOn is the leading independent online retailer of contact lenses and accessories in Northern Europe.
- The company sells contact lenses through local language sites across Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK, with over 50% of sales outside of its home Swedish market
- With over 130 brands and a range of more than 60,000 SKUs, LensOn has one of the broadest online selections of contact lenses and accessories in Europe. In addition, LensOn sells its own private label of coloured lenses and various contact lens accessories under the name of ‘by LensOn’
- Approximately 95% of all orders are shipped the same day of order and on average 5 orders get processed every other working minute
- An innovative partner program with opticians across Sweden enables LensOn customers to book a full range of eye exams online at lenson.com
- Value-added services developed in-house including a subscription option, re-packing for easier delivery, ‘ClickandReload’ for returning customers and express delivery are examples of the Company´s constant innovation to provide the highest levels of customer service in the market
- A mobile interface adapted to smartphones enables the customer to order contact lenses on the run in less than 30 seconds
- Being highly appreciated both by customers and industry, LensOn has been awarded numerous times for its customer friendly offer and business growth
- LensOn is located in Stockholm, Sweden, with 30 employees
LensOn is acquired from Nordic private equity fund Verdane Capital V, venture capitalist and company Chairman Jan Looström, the company’s founders, Kim Persson and Johan Bergenheim, amongst other investors. Verdane Capital Advisors has over 25 years experience in the venture capital and private equity market as advisor to Verdane Capital funds.
For further information please contact Jessie@wingfieldpr.com 0207 627 1894
Posted on: December 12th, 2012 by Sarah
In order to celebrate National Eye Health Week, Glasses Direct bring to you some helpful tips to keep your peepers in check.
Uncorrected vision problems can progress, and wearing corrective glasses that are no longer right for you can cause vision problems and severe headaches. Once you’ve got them checked, come and visit us online with your prescription at hand and buy online and save. BIG TIME.
2. In summer, always wear sunglasses.
It is proven that UV rays can seriously damage your eyes, but good quality sunglasses can prevent this damage. When buying sunglasses, make sure that they block at least 98% of UV radiation.
And don’t be shy in wearing your sunglasses on cloudy days as well! Clouds might provide shade, but they are no barrier for UV light. In a nutshell, Clouds are basically water, and water is UV-transparent.
Shop Karl Lagerfield’s collection at Glasses Direct, here.
3. Eat what is good for you and your eyes
The good news is that there are no foods that would be harmful for your eyes. Most foods don’t affect your eyesight at all but vitamins of the antioxidant group can prevent age-related conditions like macular degeneration and the development of cataracts. Vitamins C, A and E, folic acid, selenium and zinc are definitely beneficial for the health of your eyes. So put a carrot and a bunch of grapes into your lunch box!
4. Feel good in your glasses.
When you’re choosing your glasses, don’t treat it like a chore or necessity. Make it a treat and take time to enjoy the process of working out what suits your personal style and facial features. Invest in picking the perfect pair and you’re more likely to feel good in your frames and wear them not just when you’re supposed to. A recent surge in popularity, glasses are fast becoming the new ‘it’ accessory, so embrace the trend.
5. When you read or work on the computer make sure that the light is right.
It is a common knowledge that working with poor light can cause eyestrain, but light that is too bright can do as much damage too, so make sure your eyes don’t feel like they are straining or squinting.
6. Give your eyes a health break
Did you know that people blink about 25% less often whilst using a computer than usual, causing dry eyes? Make sure you have a break from your computer, of if that just isn’t possible some days, then close your eyes and count to 5 before opening them whenever your computer decides to take its sweet time doing something. If you train yourself into the habit, your eyes should feel much better at the end of your working day.
Lastly, make sure that you enjoy wearing your glasses and feel great in them!
Try before you commit and take advantage of Glasses Direct’s FREE Home Trial and select up for 4 frames at a time to be sent to your home/office
Posted on: September 18th, 2012 by Sarah
With the summer sun finally upon us (fingers crossed it stays!) it is time to
start planning lovely long holidays and trips away. Whether you’re a fan
of sunbathing, sightseeing, hiking or watersports there really is one travel
companion no one should be without – a good old book.
If you’re unsure of which book to pack into your hand luggage, never fear, help
is at hand. We’ve contacted some of our favourite book bloggers and asked them
to send their suggestions over for great summer reads. Below is the round up.
Harriet of Harriet Devine’s Blog has recommended ‘Kind of Cruel,’ by Sophie
This book is a delightful mix of murder, mystery and psychotherapy. If you’re a
fan of crime and police investigation novels, this is the book for you. However,
perhaps it should be said that in a story dealing with the criminally insane, don’t
always expect everything to turn out happily and logically.
Fancy winning a Kindle? Click here!
Posted on: May 25th, 2012 by Sarah
Guys, its that time again. We want to hear what you’re reading and what you think!
So email us your hardback/paperback/Kindle reviews to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a snap of you and your read to enter.
We’ll post your review and then all you need to do is share the post on facebook/twitter and email it out to get your friends, friends of friends and friends of friends to comment. Its really rather simple. The deal is, which ever review gets the most posts, WINS a Kindle Touch.
Competition ends on midnight Sunday 24th June. Send your reviews to email@example.com
Posted on: May 23rd, 2012 by Sarah
Here in the optical world, news that Google are working on “augmented reality eyewear” is being greeted with interest, granted, but it’s the kind of interest you show when a neighbour announces they are, for example, going to convert all their domestic electrical equipment to run on chicken droppings. Perhaps “bemusement” is a better word.
I dare say however that the A-to-Z map people (remember them?) felt the same way about Google’s first foray into cartography; similarly, Nokia probably chuckled around their Finnish boardroom table at the first announcement of Google’s Android Phone. “Google? Phones? Ho ho ho” etc, and now look. From Finnish to finished in under 5 years.
In fact, new branch-outs announced by the Chocolate Factory are frequently greeted with this kind of absolute surprise. To those who don’t follow the rumour blogs, most of Googles’ departures from their existing product range have been utterly unexpected. Often therefore an announcement that they are going into field X seems, as Douglas Adams once said, “not so much unlikely, more a sort of mismatching of concepts, like the idea of the Suez crisis popping out for a bun.”
However, the thing about Google is it’s like all tech evolution but speeded up a billion kazillion times, mainly because they have so many people, so much money, so much…. STUFF. One day, a bizarre, novel idea emerges; the next day they’ve cornered the world with it and former household brand names are relegated to the status of punchlines in nerdy jokes.
So while – in these early, naïve days – the usefulness of these Goggles will be limited to trivial, playtime features, it’s probably a good idea not to dismiss it all so quickly. One minute, it’ll be all “proof of concept” and “beta”; the next thing you know, everyone will stop buying televisions. The Sony, LG and Panasonic guys will find themselves hanging out with the Nokia, A-to-Z and Lycos dudes. At the Job Centre.
However, in the short term, expect lots of hilarious throwaway apps allowing you to put comedy face-masks on friends and imagine people with no clothes on. Sounds ok, actually.
Posted on: April 13th, 2012 by Mark H
An article in The Guardian this week has focused on the G20 summit currently taking place in Nice this week and among the items on the agenda has been the much publicised Robin Hood Tax. This is in no small part thanks to the presence of actor Bill Nighy ( him of the cool, geeky glasses…….and Love Actually fame) who has got behind the tax reform with the same gusto he normally reserves for the big screen.
Right on, Bill.
In essence, it is asking for a tiny tax to be implemented on the world financial sectors, thus creating hundreds of billions of dollars which could then be used to improve public services world wide and at the same time help reduce poverty and debt throughout the countries of the world. The UK alone would generate £20 billion in extra cash.
Shop The Nighy Look:
With Nighy being joined by other famous names like Nicholas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel, Bill Gates and even The Archbishop of Canterbury the Robin Hood tax is growing in recognition by the day and currently has web support at 97,398 people. Not bad for an idea that has only been in the public eye for 19 months.
And the reason for Bill Nighy getting behind the cause?……”I blame Richard Curtis…..everyone else does”. Get’s our vote!
Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by Jon
As ever, we here at Glasses Direct are always keeping our musical ears to the ground for interesting music and videos and this artiste recently slipped onto our radar, mainly due to his cool video which seems to have been shot in a rather swanky Parisienne opticians.
The guy’s name is Oscar O’Mailey and the song is called ” Ques an Charde”. The video was produced by Manuall Focus (another clever link) and although neither name is, as yet, that well known, we expect big things if this tune is anything to go by.
Check the vid out here and let us know what you think!
Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by Jon
As I was laying on my sofa the other evening watching ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ two things struck me. Firstly, I wish I looked like Brad Pitt and secondly, why do movie stars always wear yellow tinted specs when casually firing off a few rounds of a handy AK47? Thankfully, while I know nothing about the grooming habits of Mr Pitt, I do know a little about tints and lens colours. So here is a brief summary to ponder over the next time you can’t decide how to look the part with a cool M16 gadget…
Tints tend to fall into two categories; cosmetic or functional. The choice of colour can range enormously depending on use, preference or even your hair colour! Regardless of colour though, they have to be 100% UV protective and it is important to note that both very pale and a very dark tints can provide this. Cosmetic tints are normally bright colours and are more of a statement so look out for pinks, blues and reds. Functional tints tend to be brown, grey or yellow (as worn by Pitt).
The key reason why some colours are recommended for particular tasks over others is down to the wave-length of light they block out. For example, a brown tint (as it contains yellow) is much better at blocking out the middle of the visible spectrum, creating a much better contrast between the low end and high end of the spectrum. This is perfect for driving, skiing or sport. A grey tint on the other hand blocks out the spectrum evenly. While this doesn’t provide a better contrast, it helps to reduce intense light and glare from the sun’s rays. Yellow is much better for definition as it highlights objects better, allowing for faster reaction times. This is because yellow is the only colour that falls exactly on the retina and is therefore the colour that the eye is most sensitive to. This is why police cars have yellow stripes.
So next time you’re off on a mission or just off down the pub, choose wisely…you never know what you may need to see.
Posted on: September 23rd, 2010 by Jon
The question in the news right now is ‘could glasses soon be history?’ It turns out scientists have identified a gene that causes short-sightedness and have predicted they will reduce the number of individuals with short-sightedness within a decade. So what does this mean for the world of spectacles?
I have been a glasses wearer since the meager age of three, where the glasses were so big you could barely see my face behind them. I remember starting school and being looked at strangely and making friends with the only other kid in the class who also wore glasses too. By the time I was leaving school and starting university, specs had all of a sudden become cool. I looked around and everyone was wearing them, even people who didn’t need them. The world had gone crazy for the one thing I had dreaded wearing most of my life!
Specs have become a fashion statement, so what will happen if they are no longer needed as much? Will people continue to wear them anyway but without prescriptions? What will happen when the genes are identified for the other various eye disorders?
It’s an interesting concept. Feel free to post any thoughts you might have, we’d love to hear from you.
Posted on: September 15th, 2010 by Sarah
With 65% of the British public feeling ‘ripped off’ at their opticians and almost half admitting they’ve actually postponed their eye test because of the costs involved with buying new glasses, we at Glasses Direct felt it was our responsibility to help clarify the rather baffling optical world.
We have created a guide called ‘seeing clearly’ to help you make clear, informed choices when it comes to shopping for your glasses. We teamed up with Plain English Campaign (an independent group fighting for plain English in public communication) and received their Crystal Mark to show that this guide is as clear as it can be.
For clear information on what your prescription means, what you should expect during and after an eye test, how to find the best glasses for you and much more, check out our seeing clearly guide here. You will also find a downloadable pocket guide to take with you in your pocket or handbag at your next visit so that you’re armed with all the knowledge you need!
Have a listen to our latest radio coverage here:
And take a look at some of the other great coverage below in the Times, Metro, Sunday Mirror, the Scotsman and Daily Express.
Posted on: August 2nd, 2010 by Sarah
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