Warby Parker has its sights on a very lucrative pandemic recovery.
On Tuesday, the eyewear company confidentially submitted a draft of an S-1 filing, hinting at its intent to go public. The announcement is still in a pending stage as the company is still determining whether to chose a direct listing or a traditional initial public offering, sources tell Axios. A spokesperson for the brand did not immediately respond to a request for more specifics.
The company was reportedly valued at $3 billion last summer after a funding round, immediately fueling speculation of an IPO. Warby Parker shuttered about 135 of its brick-and-mortar locations in early 2020 when the pandemic first struck, but after life picked up later in the year, more and more new outposts took their place. The company told The Wall Street Journal in May that it was on track to open 35 new stores by the end of 2021.
Before today’s news of a potential public offering, the direct-to-consumer brand was a certified B Corp, a moniker given to businesses that signal they are both focused on profit and corporate responsibility. However, in 2018, the company did not renew its B Corp certification after companies were asked to change their legal status to reflect a closer relation between corporate mission and social responsibility goals.
Warby Parker would join a number of high-profile DTC startups that have listed on the public markets in recent years. Mattress brand Casper went public in early 2020, after hitting a 2019 valuation of $1.1 billion. However, its shares have mostly remained well below their $14.50 listing price since then. Katrina Lake’s e-commerce startup, Stitch Fix, went public in 2017 with a $1.2 billion valuation and raised $120 million from its IPO. Its stock is up more than 12% since the beginning of the year.