evioo brings prescription glasses online [Interview]

Sep 18, 2012
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Buying glasses has always been a pain in the ass for me. For years, I thought I had a “weird face” because one glasses shop clerk told me so after I tried on a dozen pairs of glasses. But while evioo might not help my face be less weird, they may help you skip your next trip to the optician. evioo, who recently raised a small seed round of €100K, brings the optician online in France, while also bringing thousands of major brands of frames for buyers to choose from.

I talked with founder Philippe Wargnier about evioo’s future, and how he planned to spend his newly raised round of funding:

What is evioo’s Elevator Pitch? Why should I buy glasses here?

evioo is the only retailer who brings in-store opticians online and takes advantage of the web. Evioo operates on a B2B2C model, or “click and mortar” model, if you prefer. evioo has all the advantages of being on the web, as well as those of an in-store optician for fashion lovers and those who see their glasses as an extension of themselves.

Our amazing catalog of frames (10,000+ major and creative brands) contains a virtual try-on system available in only one click. We offer competitive & affordable prices for glasses (30-40% less than in-store prices), and we offer all this with the professional advice of an optician.

We are able to combine very good service and a quality product; we can also provide an adapted answer to all different eye corrections, even very strong ones.

We also offer non-prescription sunglasses with competitive prices and a very large range of the most popular brands

What do you plan to with the 100K you raised?

This 100K€ is our 1st external funding. We are looking for more capital investors because we have so many additional subjects and ideas to develop and promote.

One of our majors issues is to start our commercial and marketing plan to develop the awareness of evioo, catch new consumers in this developing market of glasses in e-commerce and explain that we have a very competitive proposal instead of the traditional optician. Our goal is to educate the consumer to the product and explain that they can save money (even if in France the glasses market is covered by private health insurance) and keep a very high level of quality. Don’t forget that at the end it is the consumer who has to pay….

We have to continue to recruit our optician partners. We want to manage a network of 600 optician store, and for the moment we have 400. Also, we want to work with private health insurance companies to promote our “win win” business model for both the consumer and for the insurance companies. And we still have some technological innovation still to develop….

Who are your biggest global competitors?

In France we are the only “click and mortar” player. All of our competitors are all B2C. The most important being Sensee and Happyview. Even if we are competing, we are also partners in educating the consumer, in order to bring them over to this developing market. For me, I’m convinced that the “click and mortar” business will be the real winner of the competition: the most important for us is the relationship with the optician in-store, insuring quality for consumers.

What’s your international plan?

We want to develop evioo on the European market before the end of the year. For optical market we want first to concentrate on the French market, which is very specific due to the private insurance. But we are ready to have partnerships in other countries in association with chains if they are interested by our approach – and why not in the US….

What’s the 6-month roadmap for evioo? For yourself?

In the next 6 month evioo will develop a innovative solution to help the consumer to choose their frame. We also want to develop many technical solutions like a “tiers payant” for consumers (this means to get the money directly from the insurance companies and not directly from consumer) to profit of the wonderful nature near Grenoble.

My personal goal is to start the kite surf in “Monteynard” which is one of the major spot in Europe for wind…..and learn electric guitar.

French Rude Baguette readers can get a pair of RayBan Wayfarer frames + lenses for just 129 euros here, along with a free visit to the nearest Optician!