Last year we ran the first Crowdsourced Eyecare-Eyewear statistics. Does Crowd-sourcing work? In our opinion it can work, but it takes a lot of work to make it happen. You have to be on it all the time, constant updates on all Social Media, press releases, begging your friends and pushing, pushing and pushing to get funding.
The hardest part is being found. When I look at the gone and questionable companies, where are they in search? Where is their online presence? If I cannot find them on the first 5 pages of google and Facebook, they are not going to make it. One reason why, they don’t have a name, can you believe, you want to bring a pair of bamboo sunglasses and you can’t decide on the name and advertise START UP? What’s Start Up With That!
Where are they from? What is their story? How viable is the product? Would I use the product? Do I believe in the product? Do I believe in this person? What is their background? Many of the start ups did not even have story to tell. Worse, the story ‘One company owns 80% of the market (YAWN) and we couldn’t find sunglasses we like (HUH!) and get this one, ‘we found there were not enough sunglass companies’ (Seriously?)
Many of them that did not make funding have no Facebook, no website and worst of all no Linked In.
There is no doubt that being Liked has something to do with still being in business. When you think about it, if a start-up doesn’t have the time or inclination to set up a FREE Facebook page, what makes you think they are going to be around if they can’t even spend 5 minutes a day on Facebook or marketing their business?
Kickstarter was founded April 28, 2009 and and Indiegogo started in 2007.The first crowd sourced eyewear we could find was in 2010. Tommy Owens Eyewear (Florida) on Kickstarter, Framed by Karl (Estonia) (fundwise) Alexander Exotic Materials Eyewear (Greece) on Indiegogo. To the best of our knowledge they are still in business.
While we haven’t tracked this, we see the growth of companies selling on multiple platforms, Etsy, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and their website. I would guess that many of the companies that did not make funding are selling off their inventory via these sites as many do not have a website.
In review since 2010 there have ben 463 Optical Companies. As you can see by the numbers the trend continues to grow.
- 2010- 3 companies
- 2011- 7
- 2012- 27
- 2013- 50
- 2014- 73
- 2015- 143
- 2016 – 171 and counting
56 Companies went back for further funding or ran campaigns on another crowd-source. Interesting to note that quite a few went back to fund another collection. Proof for a titanium, William Painter, Epicstoke to name a few.
Funding Platforms: Many are on multiple platforms
- 5- VC Capital
- 7 Angel Investors
- 4 Shark Tank
- 1 Dragons Den
- 9 Other
- 216 Indiegogo
- 236 on Kickstarter
- 70 Funded via Indiegogo on initial campaign
- 112 Funded Via Kickstarter on initial campaign
- 3 Members of The Vision Council
- 25 Have attended an optical trade show
- 7 Non Profit Companies
- 12 Are Eyecare Professionals including one mobile optician.
- 459 have an online shopping
- 2 offer try- on technology
- 2 offer home try on
- Will wholesale products
- 4 Wholesale products only
- 11 have a storefront
- 30 Have a Give Back program
Where Are They Now?
- 175 Appear to be gone or have little presence on the Internet. Old Facebook posts or no Facebook, no website or social media. They may have changed their name or are relaunching. 44 companies received their funding goal.
- 6 Bespoke
- 99 Wood and Bamboo
- 12 3D companies of which 4 are gone
- 2 Contact lenses
- 2 Making Eyewear From denim
- 2 Making eyewear from Hemp
- 1 Making eyewear from Cork
- 6 Making eyewear from horn
- 4 Making eyewear from leather
- 6 Making Carbon Fiber Eyewear
- 4 Specified eyewear from Mazzucchelli Zyl
- 1 Specified paper
- 13 Making eyewear from bio acetate or reycled material
- 11 Specify using Carl Zeiss lenses
- 1 Specified NXT lens
- 1 Specified an Essilor Lens
- 2 Specified CR39 lenses
- 1 Specified a Glass lens
- 1 Specified Migraine Eyewear
- 39 Accessories of which at least 11 seem to be gone: We classify accessories anything other than eyeglasses, including a movie and a book.
- Majority are Sunglasses using polarzied lenses
- 5 are foldable readers or sunglasses
- 5 are for kids
- 60 are Smart Glasses
- 23 are sports specific with at least 8 being Smartglasses.
- 6 are subscription services for either eyewear or contact lenses.
- 2 are safety frames
- 2 are beer opening glasses
- 5 promote computer glasses or blue light
- 1 for color blind
- 1 for color therapy
- 5 for artists or art
- 8 are novelty or funky
- 37 are custom or interchangeable lenses
- 5 are adjustable tints
- Oculus Rift which was bought by Facebook
- Epiphany Eyewear by Vergence Labs which was bought by SnapChat. Now Spectracles.
- Frameri now working with HOYA (Vision Monday) (2016)
- Octopus 3D Eyewear struck a deal with Forma Eyewear in 2015
- Nerdwax’s deal on Shark Tank and seen at Vision Expo.
- Readerrest deal on Shark Tank and at Vision Expo
- Zungle (Los Angeles, CA) Wear the beats went viral and scored over $2 Million on Kickstarter. Bone conduction speakers that transmit sound waves.
- Vue: (San Francisco, CA) Your Everyday Smart Glasses. Raised $904,956 on their second Kickstarter campaign. ‘Vue is the world’s first pair of smart glasses that are designed for everyday use. Offered in prescription, plano, and sunglasses’ enjoyvue.com
- Orion4 Sight: (Naperville, IL or Rockport, Maine): Military grade sunglasses: Indiegogo in 2015 ($47,288) and Kickstarter in 2014 ($349, 449). We did not have the final figures at last year posting.
- Westwood (Orlando, FL) for their second campaign for the Timberline collection raised over $280, 000 on Kickstarter. Branching out into Titanium and wood eyewear.
- Solos Smart Cycling Glasses were used in the Olympics ($128,179) Smart Cycling Glasses.
- CRTL (Kent, Ohio and Netherlands) ran their second campaign on Indiegogo for their CTRL XC. ‘The fastest LCD tint changing Sunglasses. $143, 729
- Tens (Indiegogo £374,213) receives funding from Richard Branson (Crowdfunder Insider)
Where are they from? 40 Different Countries participated including the United States
- Australia- 16
- Georgia (Russia)-1
- Hong Kong-7
- New Zealand-3
- South Africa-1
- Alabama 1
- Arizona 2
- California 73
- Colorado -7
- Conn- 3
- Florida 21
- Georgia- 4
- Hawaii 3
- Idaho 2
- Kansas 2
- Kentucky 1
- Louisanna 1
- Mass- 9
- Maryland- 4
- Maine – 3
- Michigan -5
- Minnesota 3
- Missouri 3
- N. Carolina -12
- Nebraska- 1
- New Hampshire- 1
- New Jersey- 5
- Nevada- 1
- New york – 25
- Ohio- 3
- Oregon 5
- Penn- 5
- Rhode Island- 2
- South Dakota – 1
- Texas – 11
- Utah- 15
- Virginia 2
- Washington 5
- Wisconsin- 5
- Washington DC- 3
- Unknown -10
Disclaimer: The information is done to the best of our knowledge and search on google and Facebook, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. If a Facebook had not been updated in a year, we considered them questionable, even if their website was still up. If a website had not been updated since 2013, we considered them gone.
We did not research Instagram even though the majority of companies use Instagram. We also did not research via Linked In, Twitter, Amazon, Etsy, First Dibs.