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Warby Parker gets a $3 billion valuation

August 27, 2020, 2:23 PM UTC

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Eyeglass-selling startup Warby Parker has raised $245 million with investments from D1 Capital, Durable Capital Partners, T. Rowe Price, and Baillie Gifford.

A source familiar with the financing tells Fortune that the new funding values the company at about $3 billion, a sizable uptick compared to $1.75 billion following its valuation at its last announced funding in 2018.

The unicorn, which sells glasses both online and in stores, was created after its founders realized they could undercut existing prices on glasses and go direct-to-consumer—and the brand took off, becoming a poster child of the e-commerce movement that would spawn many a “Warby Parker of X”s. In 2017, the company became profitable on an EBITDA basis for the first time since its founding in 2010.

While Warby Parker did not disclose more recent financials or updates on its performance amid the the pandemic, Warby Parker co-CEO Neil Blumenthal told CNN earlier this month that the company closed all 120 of its physical locations when the virus first hit stateside, representing a “big chunk of our revenue.” But, as many other brands also have experienced, online business “has gone gangbusters” he said, while most of the company’s stores have also reopened.

“We’re lucky to be in a category like glasses, which is a necessity,” Blumenthal said. 

What makes a direct listing that allows you to raise funding different from an IPO?

Warby Parker has long been on the IPO watch list, with co-CEO Dave Gilboa suggesting in 2018 that it was in the stars at some point in the future. 

Of course since 2018, there’s been a swirl of new ways to go public. There’s the first iteration of the direct listing, through which companies have raised existing shares without additional capital; there’s the much talked about SPAC, during which a company combines with a publicly traded shell—and now, there’s the direct listing that can raise additional capital. 

On Wednesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved a proposal from the New York Stock Exchange that will allow companies to issue new shares via a direct listing process. The move could boost the popularity of the financing method that was once suitable only for cash-rich private companies with strong brand recognition.

So now, what separates an IPO from a direct listing? Well, the company going through the direct route is likely to pay fewer fees as they are hiring bankers as advisors rather than underwriters. Direct listings also tend to have no lockup period, or multi-day investor roadshows used to price the stock. Though that also means banks won’t provide price stabilization should the price fall in the first day of trading.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: lucinda.shen@fortune.com

VENTURE DEALS

- Synthego, a Redwood City, Calif.-based genome engineering company, raised $100 million in Series D funding. Wellington Management, RA Capital Management, and 8VC led the round and were joined by investors including Founders Fund, Menlo Ventures, and Intel Capital.

 - Triumvira Immunologics, an Austin, Texas-based biopharmaceutical company developing a novel platform for engineering T-cells to attack cancers, raised $55 million in Series A funding. Leaps by Bayer and Northpond Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including Oceanpine Capital and Viva Biotech Holdings.

- Restream, an Austin, Texas--based multiplatform live streaming solution, raised $50 million in Series A funding. Sapphire Ventures and Insight Partners led the round.

- Clene Nanomedicine, Inc., a Salt Lake City-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, raised $42.5 million in Series D funding. SymBiosis II led the round.

- ChartHop, a New York-based organizational management platform, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and was joined by investors including Abstract Ventures, Basement Fund, CoFound Partners, Company Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund, Flybridge Capital, Ride Ventures, the Todd and Rahul Angel Fund, Tokyo Black, SemperVirens, Shrug Capital, and Work Life Ventures.

- GRID, a Reykjavík, Iceland-based SaaS spreadsheet startup, raised $12 million in Series A funding. New Enterprise Associates led the round and was joined by investors including BlueYard Capital, Slack Fund, and Acequia Capital.

- EnerVenue, a Fremont, Calif.-based company energy storage company, raised $12 million in seed funding. Investors include Doug Kimmelman of Energy Capital Partners and Dr. Peter Lee of Towngas.

- ACTO, Toronto-based education and engagement platform for life sciences, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding. Resolve Growth Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Salesforce Ventures and Panache Ventures

- Juni Learning, a San Francisco-based digital education platform, raised $10.5 million in Series A funding. Forerunner Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including AME Cloud Ventures, Index Ventures, and Pear VC. 

- Habi, a Bogotá-Colombia-based real estate company for Latin America, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Inspired Capital led the round and was joined by investors including 8VC, Clocktower, Homebrew, Zigg, and Vine Ventures.

- Berbix, a San Francisco-based identity verification platform, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Mayfield led the round and was joined by investors including Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, and Fika Ventures. 

- Fox Robotics, an Austin, Texas-based robotic forklift maker, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Menlo Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Eniac Ventures, SignalFire, and Famiglia. Read more.

- Narrative, a New York-based software company for data distribution, raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. G20 Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Glasswing Ventures, MathCapital, Revel Partners, Tuhaye Venture Partners, and XSeed Capital. 

- Esusu, a New York-based rent platform, raised $2.3 million in seed extension funding. Investors included Acumen Fund, Concrete Rose Capital, Global Good Fund, Impact America Fund, Next Play Ventures, and Zeal Capital Partners

- LaunchNotes, a product change communication platform, raised $1.8 million in seed funding. Cowboy Ventures and Bull City Venture Partners co-led the round. 

- Artis Technologies, an Atlanta, Ga.-based provider of lending solutions for businesses, raised $1.5 million in additional seed funding. Investors include Fintech Ventures Fund and its affiliates.

- Morpheus Space, a German space propulsion startup, raised an undisclosed amount. Investors included Vsquared Ventures, Lavrock Ventures, Airbus Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Pallas Ventures, and Techstars.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- GI Partners acquired Clinical Ink, a Horsham, Pa.-based clinical trial company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Clearview Capital Fund recapitalized Higdon Outdoors, a Paducah, Ky.-based outdoor brand, and its Power Calls Company brand. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sovos Brands, backed by Advent International, agreed to acquire Birch Benders, a Denver-based producer of pancake and waffle mixes. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- NetRate System, backed by Polaris, plans to merge with MGA Systems, a software provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- Impact, backed by Silversmith Capital Partners and Providence Strategic Growth, acquired ACTIVATE, a New York-based influencer marketing platform.

- Hipcamp, backed by A16z, acquired Youcamp, an Australian-based camping community. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Fastly (NYSE: FSLY), a provider of an edge cloud platform, agreed to acquire Signal Sciences, a web application security company, for about $775 million in cash and stock.

IPOS

- TPG is preparing to raise around $700 million via two blank-check companies, per Bloomberg. One will aim to acquire a firm in the technology sector, while the other will seek a firm in the ESG space. Read more.

- Brii Biosciences, a China- and U.S.-based company focused on treatments for diseases such as COVID-19 and HIV, is weighing an IPO in Hong Kong to raise as much as $400 million as soon as the first quarter of next year, per Bloomberg. The company is backed by investors including ARCH, Sequoia, and Boyu Capital. Read more.

EXIT

- Capital One acquired Freebird, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup that helps to sell flight insurance. Freebird’s investors have included American Express and Alumni Ventures. Read more.

- PAI Partners is considering a sale of the molecular diagnostics unit of ELITechGroup, a French maker of medical testing equipment. A sale could value the ELITech unit at more than 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), per Bloomberg. Read more.

- India plans to sell as much as 15% of Hindustan Aeronautics, its state-run defense contractor. Read more.

F+FS

- BITKRAFT Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on gaming, closed its first fund with $165 million in commitments.

- Digital Currency Group’s subsidiary called Foundry will invest $100 million into mining Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in North America. Read more.

PEOPLE

- ParkerGale Capital named Cass Ziebel as a Principal.