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Global firm KKR invests USD 95 mn in Lenskart

According to reports, KKR's investment is part of a larger USD 300-million round. However, the companies did not comment on the report and if other investors have participated in the round.

Published: 17th May 2021 12:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th May 2021 12:12 PM   |  A+A-

Screengrab of Lenskart.com website.

By PTI

New Delhi: Lenskart on Monday said global investment firm KKR will invest USD 95 million (about Rs 695.8 crore) in the omni-channel eyewear retailer via a secondary stake acquisition.

As part of the transaction, existing investors - TPG Growth and TR Capital - will each divest a portion of their holding in Lenskart, a statement said.

These entities had invested in Lenskart in late 2014.

Upon the completion of the transaction, KKR will look to leverage its experience working with leading technology and eyewear companies globally to support Lenskart in expanding its presence in India, scaling its growing operations overseas, and enhancing its digital offerings to augment customers'' virtual and omni-store experience, the statement said.

According to reports, KKR's investment is part of a larger USD 300-million round. However, the companies did not comment on the report and if other investors have participated in the round.

KKR said it is making its investment from its Asian private equity fund.

Some of the recent technology-focused investments for KKR in Asia include Adopt A Cow (a digitalised, direct-to-consumer dairy company in China), NetStars (the operator of Japan''s largest QR code payment gateway), and Walnut Programming (a children''s programming education company in China).

In 2019, Lenskart had announced raising over USD 275 million (nearly Rs 1,956 crore) from Softbank Vision Fund. In the past, it has received funding from investors'' like Ratan Tata, PremjiInvest, IFC (venture capital arm of the World Bank), TPG Growth, IDG Ventures, Unilazer Ventures and Adveq.

Established in 2010, Lenskart currently serves over 7 million customers annually through its omni-channel presence that spans online, mobile application, and 730 stores in 175 cities across the country. In 2019, Lenskart had also expanded to Singapore, marking its foray into Southeast Asia.

Lenskart integrates technology into all aspects of its operations, to the browsing, shopping and purchasing experience, in addition to manufacturing and supply-chain optimisation.

Among Lenskart''s digital offerings is a virtual 3D try-on tool; AI-powered facial mapping and frame recommendation features; smart physical stores with seamless omni-channel experience; and footfall tracking beacons, heat maps and demographic analytics; and intelligent supply-chain and inventory-management solutions.

More than 600 million people in India and 4.5 billion people globally need vision correction, but only a fraction of them use it due to a lack of access, awareness, and high-quality, affordable solutions, Lenskart CEO Peyush Bansal said.

Lenskart was founded to address this gap by leveraging technology to make eyewear accessible to everyone – first in India, and now worldwide, he added.

"In the next five years, we aspire to have 50 per cent of India wearing our specs... We are thrilled to welcome KKR as an investor given their significant experience working with leading global eyewear retailers such as National Vision and 1-800 Contacts as well as technology-focused businesses globally," he said.

KKR Partner Gaurav Trehan said as a technology-driven business, Lenskart is a strong, homegrown disruptor in India''s rapidly expanding eyewear industry.

"We are truly excited to work with Peyush and Lenskart''s impressive management team to support Lenskart''s growth and innovation in India and internationally, in addition to advancing its mission to provide affordable, accessible eyewear products for everyone," he added.

Avendus Capital advised Lenskart on the transaction. 



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