3D Printed Eyewear
Clothing & Accessories
Enabled by the combination of Intel RealSense scanning technology and 3D printing, the algorithmically designed frames are custom-fit to precisely match the unique shape and contour of each user’s facial parameters.
3D Systems’ investment and partnership provides substantial competitive advantage, allowing the company to achieve a high level of personalization at a low cost of goods, and to offer customers the product at a mid-range retail price.
3D printing enables custom-fit at a standard retail price: pq Eyewear utilizes a manufacturing process which allows for true personalization of eyewear. The company has combined advanced scanning technology, customization algorithms, and 3D printing, to affordably construct glasses frames with the same high level of custom fitting available in fashion segments such as tailored garments, but which was previously unfeasible in this market. This personalization, and custom manufacturing process, represents one of the first mass market consumer applications enabled by 3D printing.
Strategic partners create major competitive advantage: 3D Systems, a market-leading 3D printing company, recognized the potential to utilize its machines to disrupt a major consumer market, and invested $5M in the company as well as nearly two years of R&D and close collaboration. There are now seven dedicated machines at its London facility capable of producing hundreds of custom frames at a time, in an unlimited variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Based on our discussions with 3D, we believe 3D is highly committed to the partnership, and based on our diligence, we estimate it would take 24-36 months for a competitor to replicate the process. In addition to manufacturing advantages, pq enjoys the creative direction of award-winning industrial designer Ron Arad, who has established a team to focus on pq, the first time in his studio’s history that he has dedicated a team to an external project. The unique designs have caught the eye of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey (who owns over 20 pairs), Sharon Stone, and Pharrell Williams.
Outstanding leadership: pq Eyewear was founded by Assaf Raviv, a 20-year veteran of the Israeli optical industry who built a successful distribution business before envisioning the concept for truly personalized frames. Raviv is joined by Executive Chairman Jonathan Seelig, co-founder of Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM, $8B market cap), former chairman of ZipCar (acquired by Avis), and former Managing Director at Globespan Capital Partners (a Boston-based VC Fund). Jonathan is investing $500K of his own capital in this round. Management is currently in advanced negotiations with a former US-based senior executive who was responsible for omni-channel marketing and digital strategy at a number of premium eyewear outlets. This individual is on track to join in the near-term, and will lead the company’s North American expansion.
A huge market that rewards innovation: The global eyewear market reached $90B in 2014, and is estimated to reach $140B by 2020. The industry is dominated by a handful of major players who own portfolios of brands and are active acquirers of promising companies and technologies. The second half of 2015 saw at least 6 significant acquisitions, and in 2014 industry leading Luxottica notably acquired e-commerce platform glasses.com, which features a “virtual try-on” technology. Additionally, the industry is known for its notoriously high margins, and high growth startup Warby Parker recently achieved a $1.2B valuation (~10x sales) by simply disrupting the supply chain and selling direct to consumers online. pq Eyewear enters the market with true technological innovation, a vision towards fashion and personalization as well as the option to sell direct to consumer, creating a powerful dynamic for future returns.