Warby Parker has raised $US100 million to help it expand its brick-and-mortar outlets, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
This follows previous reports last month that the eyewear company was raising more money at a billion-dollar valuation.
Citing “a person familiar with the company’s finances” the Journal reports that the new funding values New York-based Warby Parker at $US1.2 billion, doubling its 2013 valuation of $US500 million and making it a part of a growing group of private tech companies with billion-dollar valuations known as “unicorns.”
The new round of funding was led by T. Rowe Price. Prior to the new cash infusion, Warby Parker had raised $US115.5 million since its 2010 founding.
Warby Parker co-CEO and co-founder Dave Gilboa told the Journal that Warby Parker is not yet profitable, though he said that sales continue to grow. Currently, Warby Parker owns and operates 12 physical storefronts in 9 cities in addition to its online store.
Here’s what Warby Parker’s SoHo showroom looks like:
And here’s a look at Warby Parker’s online storefront, where you can buy frames for less than $US100:
The new funding will allow it to expand to 20 brick-and-mortar storefronts. About half of Warby Parker’s 500 employees work in its physical stores.
Right now, you give Warby Parker your prescription and then they take that, along with your choice of glasses frames, to make you a pair of glasses. But soon Warby Parker could be taking the prescription aspect of the process and moving it in-house. Gilboa told the Journal his company is “investing in technology to let customers conduct eye exams using just their mobile phones.”
The company has no immediate plans to exit, Gilboa says, adding: “We have a very healthy balance sheet at this point that gives us a lot of flexibility.”
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