Hyderabad-based Lensfit to wage price-war online, to tap omni-channel eyewear market

To raise over $3 million, expand to other cities, embrace advanced technology.

Perfect eyewear makes us look spectacular. Keeping aside the puns, this is really true. The right spectacles on our eyes make us look perfect. Any small mistake in picking them can change perspectives. To give us our perfect accessory, a startup hailing from Hyderabad is obsessed with perfection in style through eyewear has launched an omni-channel eyewear and accessory startup is running an online portal on the name, lensfit.com.

Lensfit Claims to have a Potential Market of 450 mn people Who Need Vision Correction in India but only 150 mn+ have eyes corrected themselves. This is where we have an opportunity to place lensfit.com as a catalyst in providing quality & affordable vision correction facility to people. The key problem which we identified was that of accessibility. Online gives you accessibility even at the remotest locations of the country. This was aided by the 3G/4G roll pan India and smartphones growth in India. This made us believes that the time is right to enter the segment and enable this huge base of people to get access to Quality Vision Care.

Apart from people having vision correction, digital-screen-protection eyeglasses are to be worn by everyone who spend morethan 3-4hrs on digital screens daily to protect their eyes from harmful blue-radiation. Sunglasses can be worn by everyone, given how harmful UV rays are to the eyes. As more and more people understand the importance of taking care of Ones Eyes, we think the market is set for exponential growth.

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Indians still has to get to the mode of having different eye wear for different purpose. Today consumers have multiple footwear for multiple occasions.

The company operates an optical lab where it creates and assembles the prescription lenses and specialises in single vision, multi-focal and Rx sunglasses. It aspires to provide its customers products with a range of brands, styles and designs. By cutting out the middleman, it claims to provide products at a fair price.

Lensfit is going to kick-start a price war as it claims to offer products at one-sixth to one-eighth of the market prices.

Lensfit was incorporated on January 2 this year and the backend work began in April while customer services took off from July. The company founded by Vamsi Seemakurthi, a B Tech graduate from Gitam University of 2015 batch with startup and MNC experience and Abhilash Borra, an MS in E-commerce from Australia with over nine years of optical industry experience is working on a scalable model. The company has centralised its operations in Hyderabad.

Lensfit founder and CEO Vamsi Seemakurthi told Startup Hyderabad, “We find our pricing and eyewear range to become a key differentiator over our competitors. Our customers can get eyewear at a price 60-70 percent less than our competitors, offering over 2,500 models.”

He said that orders are pouring in from Pune, Chennai, Jaipur and certain parts of Karnataka. While competitors are focusing on narrow markets, the company is looking at wide opportunities in the eyewear space serving from budget customers to premier. There are plans to create more franchisees in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the coming months.

Lensfit follows a 14-point quality test criteria that includes aspects such as lens thickness, curvature, shaping etc.

Market dynamics

When asked what are the challenges in the field where touch and feel are important for a customer to make a purchase decision, he says, “In the US and Europe, online platforms take a major pie in eyewear business, India is still in the transition stage where 50 per cent or more sales still happens through offline route. We are planning our future geographic expansion, accordingly.”

He explains, “We will first create a franchisee in a city and then we will promote business through our portal and app so that customers can have the choice of visiting the store for making their buying decision. On an average, the company takes five days to deliver the eyewear after an order is placed.” “Consumers have really loved our products and offerings. We have acquired over 500 customers and are seeing a good amount of repeat buyers at such an early stage of the company life cycle. “

The company is working towards launching world’s first of its kind, Frame-Detector Try-on Kit, which will be priced at around Rs 50 that allows customers to understand their frame-fits and face-sizes before making the actual purchase online with accurate detailing.

Partnerships

Lensfit partners with various companies like bookmyshow, Commut, Uber, Leanspoon, Restaurants etc; to provide complementry vouchers to its customers on every purchase.

Funding for growth

To meet its growth needs, the boot-strapped company wants to go for a Series A funding by raising over $3 million by March/April 2018 for building back-end supply chain and strengthening technology to further enable automation within all processes.

“We would like to invest Rs 5-6 crore in the back-end to build our automated warehouse facility in Hyderabad. For building technology and operations, we are looking to invest an additional Rs 5-6 crore. And another Rs 5-6 crore would be used to build the brand and reach deeper markets,” he added.

In the near future, the company plans to foray into Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Gurugram. It will have 10-12 franchise stores across the country by end of 2017 from four now.

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