Contact lens retailer Vision Direct acquired by Essilor

Purchase of the £33m e-commerce business represents the second significant exit for investor Octopus Ventures this year

Vision Direct, a specialist in contact lenses and eye care, has been acquired by competitor company Essilor, in a deal which sees investor Octopus Ventures make its second exit of 2016.

Founded in 2004 by Michael Kraftman, Camden-based Vision Direct is an online retailer which sells contact lenses, solutions and eye care products, and has grown to over 80 employees.

The e-commerce company, which also has websites in Italy, Belgium, Spain, France, Ireland and the Netherlands, recently reported turnover of £33m.

Its purchase by opthalmic optics specialist Essilor marks Octopus' second significant exit since its recent exit from keyboard app company SwiftKey; purchased by Microsoft in a deal worth an estimated $250m.

Alex Macpherson, head of Octopus Ventures, said of the news:

“When we met Kraftman and the team back in 2009, it was clear to us that he had found an opportunity to build an incredibly exciting business that could scale quickly and play a key role in transforming its sector.

“From our initial investment, we’ve really enjoyed working with the team and seeing their business go from strength to strength. The news that Vision Direct is to join Essilor, the world leader in ophthalmic optics, is a tremendous achievement for this innovative young business and further highlights the UK as a thriving global hub for entrepreneurship.”


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