Contact lens subscription startup Waldo eyes US expansion following raise


London-based Waldo, a direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, has raised £3.7m in Series A funding.

PROfounders Capital, YYX Ventures, Tectonic Capitaland and Tinder’s co-founders Sean RAd and Justin Mateen invested in the round.

The money will be used to fuel the startup’s European and US expansion.

Launched 10 months ago in the UK by founder Ashleigh Hinde, Waldo seeks to provide consumers with high quality lenses without the friction associated with traditional distribution channels.

The startup ships ultra-breathable daily lenses to customers within 48 hours and then replenishes a customer’s supply of lenses as needed.

Customers are able to accelerate, pause or cancel their subscription at any time – or upgrade to Waldo Vitamin, the company’s Vitamin enriched lenses designed to replenish dry and itchy eyes.  

To date, Waldo says it’s serving 50,000 daily lens wearers across 27 European countries.

Hinde commented on the round’s closure: “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.”

The news comes after Waldo raised £1.3m in funding from backers including YYX Capital and Nigel Wray last year.

Sean Seton-Rogers, general partner at PROfounders Capital, went on to note: ‘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.”