On Tuesday, the Contact Lens startup is launching and it will be the most recent startup to bring a drastic change in the market that is normally dominated by big, established companies. Waldo is currently selling its daily contact lenses online, but the price is less in comparison to the big, and established brands.
Why is Waldo dominating the contact lens market already?
The lenses sold by Waldo are delivered to the doors of the customer within 48 hours in amazingly compact, recyclable and chic packaging. Ashleigh Hinde, founder and Harvard graduate, said that they are trying to inject fun and interest back into the eyewear industry. She said “It’s a very complex customer journey at the moment, so we want to streamline that as much as possible.”
In the UK, the contact lens industry is worth £290 million, and around 125 million people wear lenses across the world, however, the number of affordable and high quality daily options is limited, which is a problem that the Waldo founder blames to the greed of large established pharmaceutical companies. The contact lens startup had secured £600,000 in its first round of funding, even before its launch.
The founder of the startup says that she has wanted to use dailies always. Frequently, dailies are considered more hygienic, says Hinde who further notes that she has not been able to afford to use dailies. According to the startup founder, the reason behind daily lenses being so costly is “a mixture of [big pharmaceutical companies’] insane mark-ups and their really complex distribution channel.”
No comprise with quality of lenses: Hinde
Large pharma companies are doing all they can to increase their profits but Waldo is planning to mark-up less while still making profits. The startup wants to streamline its supply chain to cut out third party retailers and distributors. Retailer Specsavers sells dailies of pharma giant Johnson & Johnson for around £15-20 per eye whereas the supply of contacts by Waldo, which can last for a complete month, is priced around £12 per box, per eye only.
Opticians mark-up on lenses as well and pricing is super inconsistent, according to Hinde. Waldo will be sold online only as a result of this. But Hinde is certain that she would not compromise on the quality of lenses that cater to all prescriptions and match the standard of dailies of Johnson & Johnson. She says, “I’ve worn contacts since I was 11 and my eyes are super sensitive. There was just no way I was willing to compromise even part of the manufacturing process for cost savings.”
Paul Harasymowycz, head of glaucoma research unit at the University of Montreal, says “Waldo provides the highest quality daily contact lenses, at a fraction of the cost of other brands out there.”