IDG leads a $7 million investment in a Chinese version of Warby Parker
June 18, 2015 03:37 PM
Chinese companies are learning from the successful strategies of U.S. e-retailers. Web merchant Inmix aims to emulate the success of Warby Parker and then compete with it.
Inmix, a Chinese online eyewear retailer, announced this week it has raised $7 million in a Series A financing round led by venture capital firm IDG Capital Partners and Lenovo-backed Legend Capital.
The average price of Inmix eyeglasses is about $20, 50% to 70% lower than the typical price in bricks-and-mortar stores in China. U.S.-based Warby Parker grew rapidly after its launch in 2010 by offering prescription glasses starting at $95 a pair.
While the company, founded in 2010, has not disclosed its revenue, it says sales this year will exceed its total sales in its first four years of operation.
Inmix, founded by best-selling author Li Ming and fashion designer Wang Sheng, sells Inmix-branded eyeglasses on Inmix.com and on such Chinese web marketplaces as Tmall and JD.com.
“We hope to use the Internet as a tool to change the whole eyeglass retailing industry,” Li Ming says,
Inmix introduce several new products per week. Examples include eyeglasses light enough to float on water and glasses with anti-allergic nose pads.
“As an investor focusing on consumer products, I follow the eyeglass industry for a very long time and have always believed there is an opportunity in the market,” says Yan Yisheng, a partner at IDG Capital Partners.
U.S.-based IDG Capital Partners was one of the earliest venture capital firms to enter China and has invested in more than 300 Chinese companies, including Internet giant Tencent Group and smartphone make Xiaomi Inc., No.2 in the Internet Retailer 2015 China 500.
While Inmix has drawn comparison to Warby Parker, Inmix has bigger ambitions. “We hope not only to become the Warby Parker of China, but also to compete with it in the global market in the future,” Li says.
New York-based Warby Parker, No. 247 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, also was founded in 2010. The U.S. e-retailer raised $100 million in May and $225 million in all.