Waldo, Europe’s first direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, has secured £3.7m/US $5m in Series A venture funding from transatlantic investors including PROfounders Capital and YYX Ventures in the UK, as well as Tectonic Capital and Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen in the United States. This new investment will fuel ongoing international expansion in Europe and the US – just ten months after launching in the United Kingdom.
Waldo was founded by Ashleigh Hinde, 29, with a mission to provide the highest quality lenses to its customers without the price, hassle or friction involved with traditional distribution channels. As a long time lens-wearer, Ashleigh has designed the Waldo ecosystem in response to her personal experience ordering, obtaining and using other brands.
Waldo ships its ultra-breathable daily lenses to customers within 48 hours of a simple click at hiwaldo.com. Then, each month, Waldo replenishes a customer’s supply of lenses as needed. Waldo customers can accelerate, pause or cancel their subscription at any time – or even upgrade to Waldo Vitamin, the UK’s first Vitamin enriched lenses designed to replenish especially dry and itchy eyes. After launching in the United Kingdom in August 2017, Waldo has earned the trust of 50,000 daily lens wearers across 27 European countries.
Last year, Waldo secured £1.3m of early funding from YYX Capital and Nigel Wray, amongst others – all of whom have continued to support Waldo through the latest round.
Sean Seton-Rogers, general partner at PROfounders Capital said: ‘We firmly believe that Waldo has the ability to become a globally leading, digitally-native brand in the contact lens space.”
Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen added: “Waldo disrupts a market dominated by big, established players with its customer-centric approach to selling and strong brand. We have been impressed with how quickly they have executed.”
Ashleigh Hinde, Waldo’s founder, said: “At the moment, the large pharmaceutical companies are dominating the industry, but they are too far from their customers. Despite contact lenses being such an intimate product and daily staple in the lives of millions of customers, the big brands in this space are not doing anything exciting. As we are seeing across the CPG industry, the brands that win are the brands that are in conversation with their customers, and able to develop products and services that solve their problems. Waldo’s mission is to leverage that and deliver a more customer-centric contact lens experience.”