MyOptique Group raises £8m Acton Capital-led investment

Owner of Glasses Direct, Sunglasses Shop and LensOn caps phase of fast growth with deal

Online eyewear retailer MyOptique Group has announced the completion of an £8m fundraising deal, led by Acton Capital Partners.

Founded in 2004 by Class of 2005 Young Gun Jamie Murray-Wells, MyOptique Group was originally launched as Glasses Direct, providing prescription eyewear online at wholesale prices.

The company has since grown to employ more than 150 people, with sales of £29.9m in the year ending April 2013 and selling to 50 overseas markets. It is expected to break £35m in sales this year.

Glasses Direct rebranded as the MyOptique Group in 2012 following 2011’s acquisition of leading European sunglasses retailer Sunglasses Shop and the launch of premium optical boutique MyOptique.com a year later.

The Group has also subsequently acquired contact lens retailer LensOn to add to its portfolio of retail sites, meaning it now has a leading presence in all three segments of the online optical market.

MyOptique was named this year as one of the ‘Future Fifty’, a joint initiative by the government and Tech City UK to identify and support fifty high-growth business looking to float on the London Stock Exchange.

The scheme will provide the Group with a year’s worth of mentoring and public and private connections, in order to lay the foundation for an eventual public offering.

The £8m fundraising was led by existing investors Acton Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Index Ventures, who backed the company in a previous £10m round in 2009.

The deal also contained input from Munich-based private equity firm Cipio Partners  and investment bank GP Bullhound’s Sidecar tech investment fund.

It is expected to be used to fund further growth and potential acquisitions for the fast-growing online retailer, as it looks to consolidate its hold on the online market for prescription eyewear.

Founder and executive chairman Jamie Murray-Wells will also step down from his position on the board, after selling the majority of his shares to Cipio in a separate deal.

Kevin Cornils, chief executive of the MyOptique Group, added: “2013 has been a busy year for us at the MyOptique Group, so it’s great to see the support of our existing and new investors, as well as the recognition of Tech City UK’s Future Fifty initiative.

“We now have a full service optical business that spans eight European markets, have served over 800,000 customers, shipping an order every 40 seconds.

“We’re also thrilled to have Maurice joining us to bring his wealth of experience in fashion retailing as well as public company experience as we accelerate our growth efforts.”

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