Investors should be keeping their eyes on the market this week as one of the trendiest names in both eyewear and e-commerce begins to trade. Warby Parker (NYSE:WRBY) begins trading tomorrow on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WRBY, and we can see clearly that there are plenty of reasons for investors to watch closely as one of the hottest IPOs prepares to drop. After much waiting, WRBY stock is almost finally here.
Rather than make its public debut through a traditional IPO, Warby Parker opted for a direct listing, a method employed by companies such as video game maker Roblox (NYSE:RBLX) and cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase (NASDAQ:COIN). For profitable and well-established companies, listing directly often means being able to go public without diluting shares through the IPO process. Additionally, it can mean avoiding a lockup provision which can lead to selloffs. This decision implies that Warby Parker is confident and is not lacking in resources.
What else do we need to know about this company before WRBY stock officially begins trading? Let’s find out.
10 Things to Know About the WRBY Stock IPO
- Based in New York City, Warby Parker was founded in 2010. The company was created to address the problem of how expensive fashionable eyewear was becoming.
- It was founded by four friends from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Neil Blumenthal, Dave Gilboa, Andy Hunt and Jeff Raider. The idea was inspired by the friends learning that one company controlled most of the eyeglass production the U.S and had high costs.
- Warby Parker has been named to Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies List in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2020.
- The company credits its success to its ability to “circumvent traditional channels, design glasses in-house, and engage with customers directly.”
- Beginning as an e-commerce platform, the company now focuses considerable effort on brick-and-mortar stores. While many businesses fully embraced digital sales during the pandemic, Warby Parker has announced plans to open 35 new retail stores on top of the 135 it already operates. The company reports that retail sales “bounced back faster than anticipated.”
- The company prioritizes environmental concerns as it expands. By its own admission, Warby Parker is “one of the only carbon neutral eyewear brands in the world.”
- Warby Parker’s largest investors include Global Management, T. Rowe Price, General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners and Durable Capital.
- According to Fortune, “Warby Parker has raised a total of $536 million as a private company.” Its most recent valuation is roughly $3 billion.
- Companies that file for a direct listing doing not work with underwriters. Throughout the listing process, though, it has been advised by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Allen & Company.
- Warby Parker is operating in a market with plenty of opportunity for growth. Statistics from the Vision Council of America indicate that 75% of American adults use some type of vision correction and of that number, 64% wear glasses.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.