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Lenskart subsidiary Neso Brands raises $100 million in largest seed funding round

Lenskart subsidiary Neso Brands raises $100 million in largest seed funding round

The announcement comes on the heels of Lenskart having raised 760 crore (or nearly $100 million) in a new funding round from Alpha Wave Ventures last month.

Omnichannel eyewear retailer, Lenskart has raised $100 million in largest funding round in startup ecosystem ever Omnichannel eyewear retailer, Lenskart has raised $100 million in largest funding round in startup ecosystem ever

Omnichannel eyewear retailer Lenskart’s subsidiary firm, Neso Brands, a D2C start-up, has raised $100 million in a seed funding round, in what is the largest seed fund-raise in the start-up ecosystem ever. The fresh funds infusion in Lenskart’s subsidiary Neso Brands was led by KKR, SoftBank, Alpha Wave Global and Temasek.

The announcement comes on the heels of Lenskart having raised 760 crore (or nearly $100 million) in a new funding round from Alpha Wave Ventures last month. The filings stated that this was a Series-I round with issuance of 36,41,646 series shares at Rs 2087.52 per share to raise Rs 760 crore..

D2C start-up 10club, an e-commerce brands rollup venture, earlier had reported as having raised the largest seed funding round at $40 million in June last year.

Lenskart’s CEO Peyush Bansal had earlier stated that he will bet big on international expansion as well as acquisition of vertical brands ahead of a likely IPO.

Neso Brands is Singapore-headquartered and will partner and invest in consumer eyewear brands around the world and grow these brands by leveraging synergies across the Lenskart Group to accelerate international expansion.

Neso Brands has also announced the appointment of Bjorn Bergstrom as the founder CEO. Bergstrom has vast experience from consumer scale-ups, venture capital and management consulting.

Bergstorm was earlier serving as Chief Growth Officer and interim Chief Product & Technology Officer for the global fashion brand NA-KD. Bergstrom’s experience prior to that includes working as a venture capital investor focusing on early-stage growth start-ups, management consulting as well as operational roles at consumer start-ups.

“Today there is a perfect storm in the eyewear industry that makes it ripe for disruption. Consumers have increasingly high demands when it comes to customer experience, branding, and choice, but incumbent players have been unable to keep up. By investing in the most promising new brands in the industry and leveraging centraliaed resources across technology, manufacturing and distribution, Neso Brands will be uniquely positioned to scale the eyewear brands of the future. I am very much looking forward to leading the company on this journey and working closely together with our investors and partners,” Bergstorm said in a statement.

Eyewear has to date been a very traditional industry with large incumbents, but is now ripe for a tech-enabled global transformation. With general e-commerce adoption skyrocketing and technologies such as AR and AI becoming more mature, the time has come for nimble eyewear brands to capitalise on these trends and capture market share. Neso Brands will house these brands and enable a quicker global roll-out by giving the brands access to shared resources particularly technology, supply chain, distribution, capital and best practices, a company handout stated.

“With this investment in Neso Brands, we want to accelerate our mission of transforming the way people see and experience the world. Consumers want better and better every day and while people's quality of life has been uplifted through all other lifestyle products such as shoes, apparel and wearables, eyewear products are the same old with no innovation, just more expensive. It is our firm belief that the eyewear brands of today will not be brands of the future. And Neso is our initiative to partner with founders globally to help create eyewear brands of the future," Lenskart CEO, Peyush Bansal said