woman with phone and sunglasses

Warby Parker Joins List of Consumer Brands to Go Public

Warby Parker Eschews Traditional IPO

Warby Parker, the consumer-eyewear company, is going public via a direct listing, becoming the latest direct-to-consumer company to choose this route. While IPOs have traditionally been the way startups raise capital, direct listings are becoming more popular as companies opt to save money that would typically go to bankers. Among the names that have gone public through a direct listing are Coinbase (COIN), Palantir (PLTR), and Spotify (SPOT). One major differentiator between the two is that no new shares are created in a direct listing. Only existing outstanding shares are sold.

Warby Parker is following closely on the heels of other consumer companies that have chosen to go public recently. The list includes Honest (HNST), the organic consumer-products maker and Figs (FIGS), which makes scrubs for the medical industry. Allbirds, the green sneaker maker, is also expected to launch an IPO.

Losses Continue for Eyewear Company

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Warby Parker disclosed revenue of $270.5 million for the first half of 2021 and losses of $20.4 million. For all of 2020 it had revenue of $393.7 million and lost $55.9 million. The company warned it needs to generate and sustain increased revenue as well as keep costs at bay to achieve profitability. In March 2020 it closed all its stores as the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Internet sales have cushioned the blow for the eyewear retailer, with 60% of its 2020 sales coming from online channels. Ecommerce accounted for 50% of its overall sales in the first six months of 2021. The company currently has 145 owned and operated stores and 95% of its revenue comes from selling eyewear.

Warby Has Loyal Fans

Warby Parker was founded in 2010, shipping eyewear directly to consumers to try on in the comfort of their own homes. It subsequently expanded into retail stores and retreated when the pandemic hit. The company has a loyal following of customers and investors. Since its inception it has raised $245 million at a $3 billion valuation. Meanwhile it has a loyal base of customers which has so far translated into high retention rates.

Warby Parker is tapping the public markets at a time when direct-to-consumer brands are having a moment. With the eyewear market in need of some disruption it will be interesting to see if a broader base of investors think Warby Parker is the one to do it.

Things are changing daily within the financial world. Sign up for the SoFi Daily Newsletter to get the latest news updates in your inbox every weekday.

Sign up

Please understand that this information provided is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as a recommendation or solicitation of any products offered by SoFi’s affiliates and subsidiaries. In addition, this information is by no means meant to provide investment or financial advice, nor is it intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision or recommendation to buy or sell any asset. Keep in mind that investing involves risk, and past performance of an asset never guarantees future results or returns. It’s important for investors to consider their specific financial needs, goals, and risk profile before making an investment decision.
The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. These links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement. No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this content.
Communication of SoFi Wealth LLC an SEC Registered Investment Adviser
SoFi isn’t recommending and is not affiliated with the brands or companies displayed. Brands displayed neither endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks and service marks referenced are property of their respective owners.

All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender