KKR invests USD95m in Lenskart

Global investment firm KKR is to invest USD95 million in Lenskart, an omni-channel eyewear retailer in India, via a secondary stake acquisition.

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.

As part of the transaction, existing investors TPG Growth and TR Capital, who first invested in Lenskart in late 2014, will each divest a portion of their holding in the Company.

Lenskart was launched with a vision to revolutionise eyewear in India and now globally. Established in 2010, the Company today is the largest service provider for eyewear in India, serving over seven million customers annually through its omni-channel shopping experience, which spans online, mobile application, and 730 omni-channel stores in 175 cities across the country. In 2019, Lenskart also expanded to Singapore – marking its foray into Southeast Asia – where it is now a key service provider for optical. Lenskart integrates technology into all aspects of its operations to enhance customers’ 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.

Peyush Bansal, CEO of Lenskart, says: “At Lenskart, we are obsessed with our customers, technology, and making world a better place through easily accessible, best-quality eyewear. 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 was founded to address this gap by leveraging technology to make eyewear accessible to everyone – first in India, and now worldwide. We are also working on the larger human agenda of improving people’s quality of life by allowing them to ‘Be More and Do More’ with their eyewear through our innovative products such as Lenskart Airflex, E-lock, Neuro-science lenses, and Lenskart BLU.”

“I feel we are still scratching the surface and have a lot of work to do over next 10 years in India and globally,” Bansal adds. “In the next five years, we aspire to have 50% of India wearing our specs. Today’s announcement is a milestone and a step towards that goal. 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. We look forward to working alongside KKR to elevate Lenskart to its next phase of growth.”

Gaurav Trehan, Partner at KKR, says: “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.”

KKR is making its investment from its Asian private equity fund. Lenskart is KKR’s latest investment that supports industry-leading consumer companies enabled by technology. 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.

Avendus Capital advised Lenskart on the transaction. Additional details of the transaction have not been disclosed.