Dubai-based eyewear e-commerce startup in the Middle East, eyewa today announced that it has successfully closed a $7.5 million (approximately AED20 million) Series A funding round in order to further expand its operations.
MAGNiTT sat down with eyewa’s team who shared some amazing insights following the successful close of their Series A round:
Q: Can you please give a short introduction about eyewa?
A: Founded by Anass Boumediene and Mehdi Oudghiri, eyewa is the largest eyewear e-commerce in the GCC,. Launched in 2017, eyewa’s vision is to simplify the eyewear shopping experience by providing an easy, affordable and trustworthy platform for contact lenses, sunglasses, and prescription glasses.
Q: What were the challenges you’ve encountered around fundraising in the past?
A: Fundraising is never easy. It’s a process that requires a lot of trust between both investors and entrepreneurs, which takes time to build. In our case, we knew from the beginning of our business that we would be going the venture route, i.e., that we want to build a large company fast, which would require us to get investors’ backing to make it happen. With that in mind, we started building relationships with investors even before launching eyewa. We wanted to take our time in understanding the stance of each investor and how they can bring value to eyewa’s journey, beyond just injecting cash. By doing this, we were able to gather a roundtable of investors that have a lot of experience in e-commerce, from the region and outside of it.
Q: What influenced your decision to seek a (new) funding now?
A: In the first year and a half of operations, we focused our resources on building a case for eyewa. We wanted to prove that the market is right, and that we have the right team to seize this opportunity. We decided to raise additional funding once we had enough traction, in the form of revenues generated, for us to move eyewa to the next level. The MVP phase has been a success. It’s now time to scale up.
Q: Why was it beneficial to have multiple investors?
A: The way we look at it, the more investors we have, the more access we have. Access to experience, to benchmarks and best practices, to learning and to capital
Q: What’s the lesson learned from securing a series A funding?
A: If we were to give any advice on this topic, it would be to start fundraising as early as possible. It’s a process that takes a lot of time.
Q: Will your investors take an active role in the future decisions of eyewa?
A:Our investors have significant e-commerce experience that is of tremendous value to us, and we intend to tap into that wealth of knowledge to better operate our company and to make sure we reach more customers and service them in the best way possible. The management of daily operations remains with the executive team of eyewa.
Q: How do you look to scale across the region?
A: First, we want to consolidate our leadership in our home markets of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, then we will expand our operations to the rest of the region. There are 500 million customers in the Middle East, who share the same language and culture and are within a 4-hour flight from Riyadh or Dubai. Our plan is to reach them and offer the best service and products in the eyewear vertical.
Q: What are your plans/how will you use the funding?
A: Funding will be used to grow our operations and presence in all of the region, We will be hiring more tech, marketing, and operations team members, increasing our footprint in the GCC with the opening of more local fulfillment centers, and growing the product offering to thousands of sunglasses, eyeglasses and contact lenses.