PARIS — Singapore-based Neso Brands has announced Tuesday it had invested $4 million in French eyewear label Le Petit Lunetier.
Headquartered in Paris, Le Petit Lunetier is a direct-to-consumer brand and licensed optician chain founded in 2015 by former Google and Rad.co executive Jérémie Encaoua and optician Elie Attias.
It counts 16 stores across France to date and became popular for its affordable designs that can be fitted with prescription lenses reimbursable by the French public health insurance.
“As an optician-founded business, our focus from Day One has been to provide high-quality lenses paired with fashionable frames, packaged at accessible price points,” said Encaoua.
The label plans to use this first-ever external investment to solidify its position in its home territory, grow its footprint in neighboring European countries and enter the Asian market.
Neso Brands chief executive officer Bjorn Bergstrom said Le Petit Lunetier caught the venture’s eye on Instagram for its “much more fun, warm and relatable” mien that stood out against “super-glossy influencer brands.”
In particular, “they’ve really been able to keep a kind of uniqueness for each store, fitting into a neighborhood and really capturing [its] vibe, while still conveying the brand,” he continued.
Another aspect that made the brand special is that it operated on a break-even basis almost from Day One, added the eyewear executive.
In addition to funds, Le Petit Lunetier will also receive support from Neso Brands to improve its efficiency and growth, including rolling out predictive analytics technologies to its brick-and-mortar stores as well as leveraging AI, computer vision and deep learning to boost customer engagement and sales conversion.
This marks the first European investment for the Singapore-based eyewear venture launched in 2022 by Bergstrom and Peyush Bansal, CEO of Lenskart Group, an Indian multinational optical prescription eyewear retail chain with more than 1,500 stores across a dozen countries in Asia, including Singapore, India, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
“We are essentially setting out to create global household brands in the eyewear space, scouting for brands all over the world. Be it Asia, North America, South America, or Europe, it doesn’t really matter where the brand is based, as long as we feel that the brand has something special,” said Bergstrom.
Neso Brands was kick-started by raising $100 million through Lenskart, whose investors include KKR and Softbank.
In April, Neso Brands appointed Paulo Almeida, who previously served as senior vice president of engineering at Southeast Asian fast fashion retailer Pomelo Fashion, as its chief technology officer.
It acquired last year Japanese eyewear brand Owndays, which has more than 500 doors in 13 markets across the Middle-East and Asia-Pacific regions, as well as invested in retail analytics companies TangoEye and GeoIQ.