New York-based eyewear company Warby Parker will go public in the coming weeks through a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company filed an S-1 registration document Aug. 24 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, showing it had boosted its sales more than 50 percent, to $270 million, for the first six months of 2021. The firm lost $7 million during the first six months of the year, down from a $10 million loss for the first half of 2020.
The company had been expected to go public through an initial public offering, but it will instead follow fellow New York tech firm Squarespace by using a direct listing.
Founded in 2010, Warby Parker has raised more than $530 million from investors and is considered a pioneer in online retail. The firm has more than 2 million active customers, who buy Warby's custom-designed glasses either directly online or in one of the company's roughly 140 stores.
Warby Parker says on its website that it sources its cellulose acetate from a "family-run Italian factory" then uses a computer numerically controlled machine to cut each frame from an acetate sheet.
While the brand established itself online, the company's filing showed a majority of its sales came from retail stores, until 2020 forced those stores to close for much of the year.
"We aim to meet the customer wherever and whenever they want to shop, whether that's online, in store or even at home," read a statement from Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, the company's co-founders and co-CEOs.
The market for eyeglasses in the U.S. is $35 billion, according to research cited in Warby Parker's filing. The company expects that spending will continue growing, in part because of our collective addiction to digital screens.
"The rising usage of smartphones, tablets, computers and other devices has contributed significantly to increased vision correction needs and consistent new customer growth within the eyewear market," the company's filing said.
The company warned in its filing that it could continue losing money in order to focus on driving new customers and offering new services to existing ones.
The offering will place Warby Parker among more than a dozen New York technology startups to reach public markets this year, a record total.