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Can Ultra Premium Eyewear at Half the Price Really Shake Up Warby Parker's $6B Market Share?

The Rules:

Every week I breakdown startup pitches with the added hook that you can invest whether you’re accredited or not (if you don't know what that means, click here).

I base my review on a 3-minute founder pitch and some light diligence.

My a scoring system is not a validation of idea, or grading for likelihood of success. It just means, all things being equal at launch — this startup has these boxes checked.

What I look for:

  1. Founder — ability to lead, sell into and influence a given market

  2. Idea — is it inevitable or solving a BIG problem in a scaleable way

  3. TAM — how big is the total addressable market

  4. Traction — do they have meaningful early traction

  5. Unfair Advantage — do they have a competitive edge


Company Overview

MicroVision Optical is a long-time eyewear OEM now launching a D2C brand called, Parallel 👉 Watch The Pitch 📺

Key People: David Johnson (2x exits), Ray Sphire (1 exit), & David Stern

Traction: MicroVision is not a typical startup, they’re already a successful eyewear OEM that’s shipped more than 1,000,000 units worldwide. Now they’re shifting to a D2C model that targets a $20B market dominated by only a few players. MVO is generating $1.5M ARR, with 72% profit margins and believe their supply chain advantage will allow them to undercut the market.

Terms & Takeaway

Invest in MicroVision Optical here 👉 Term Sheet

Security Type: Reg CF
Pre-Money Valuation: $4,500,000
Raised (as of publishing): $286,225
Minimum Investment: $100.00

Here's what I like: This team is stout. Between the previous brand building and management experience I have little doubt they can be successful spinning up an attractive brand that will sell well through existing retail channels. I also like the concept of using existing infrastructure to build a secondary brand that has even better margins — Warby Parker has proven the D2C eyewear model can compete (and excel). I also think given the inventory expense and marketing spend needed, a $4.5M Value Cap is really fair.

Here's what I don't love: This market is extraordinarily competitive, in order to win, or even chip away at Warby Parker, the online strategy is going to need to be top level. I have zero doubt the founders can build a brand, but doing so online with today’s NFT, meme and TikTok attention span — I have a few questions. The product quality speaks for itself and the retail distribution will certainly help; but success and failure will rest entirely on the shoulders of strong social/paid and influencer marketing.

Who should invest and why: If you like backing great founders and would love to score a pair of nice shades or readers, I’d throw some money at this deal. Also, eyewear is one of those products that are priced for prestige — so while I’m not sure undercutting price will move the intended user — adding some competitive balance to the market would be a welcome change!

As always, startup investing is super high risk, anything can happen.

Invest in MicroVision Optical here 👉 Term Sheet

Questions, DM me 🤳 @kitun.

Disclaimer: It goes without saying, but this information should not be constituted as financial advice, my investing opinions are my own and all diligence is the responsibility of each individual investor.