Warby Parker is coming to the market with a $5 billion market capitalization — blowing past the $3 billion valuation it scored in a private fundraising round last year.
The ever-buzzy eyewear brand shares were priced at $40 each in preparation for the company’s direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The process is similar to an IPO, but instead of creating new shares, private investors use direct listings to sell existing stock directly to the public.
Going into the listing, Warby Parker had 412 stockholders, with Class A shares and Class B stock, which carry additional voting rights. Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, cofounders who lead the company as co-chief executive officers, will together control 48 percent of the voting power.
Now, everyday investors will be able to easily get a piece of the company, a direct-to-consumer pioneer that helped start a kind of digital revolution, but is pinning a good bit of its growth on brick-and-mortar.
The company’s sales jumped 53 percent to $270.5 million for the six months ended June 30, but with losses of $7.3 million. For all of 2021, Warby Parker is looking for sales to grow by up to 36 percent to $537 million, with the help of 30 to 35 new stores for a total of up to 160 locations.
Investors will be watching closely to see how the company develops — as a business and as part of a rush of pandemic-era offerings. Warby Parker has lots of brand exposure and a business model that spawned a wave of direct-to-consumer followers, but still holds a relatively small piece of the market.
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