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Contact Lens Maker Raises $25M+ in IPO

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The money will support a US launch.

ALPHARETTA, GA — Visioneering Technologies Inc., which makes NaturalVue Multifocal 1 Day contact lenses, has raised $33.3 million Australian dollars (U.S. $25.6 million) in an initial public offering.

The IPO proceeds will provide capital as VTI broadens and accelerates the U.S. launch of its daily disposable contact lenses for adults with presbyopia and children with myopia and launch additional contact lens products.

The funds raised in the IPO are intended to further build out the US sales force to about 45 direct sales representatives over the 12 months following listing, and to build inventory that will support the expanded sales effort.

Tony Sommer, the company’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, will lead growth of the sales force. Sommer was the head of sales for the US Vision Care division at Bausch & Lomb.

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The NaturalVue MF contact lens has been cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and a pilot launch in the U.S. market began in 2015 generated strong interest, according to a press release.

The company stated: “Within 12 months of the pilot launch commencing, demand for the NaturalVue MF contact lenses far outpaced VTI’s ability to supply product with its then limited infrastructure, and 90 percent of patients who had been using the lenses long enough to use up their supplies reordered, indicating strong repeat purchasing.”

VTI offered for issue about 79.4 million CHESS Depositary Interests (CDIs), each representing an interest in one share of VTI’s Class A common stock. The CDIs will be quoted on the Australian Securities Exchange following the IPO.

The IPO was fully underwritten by Cannacord Genuity.

“With a very successful pilot launch completed, with the calibre of sales leadership we have recently attracted and installed, and with a successful IPO enabling rapid expansion of our sales infrastructure, new product launches, and inventory, we are well poised to deliver on the growth plans laid out in our prospectus,” said Dr. Stephen Snowdy, VTI’s CEO.

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Optical Retailer to Add 25 Stores, Expand Into 4 New States

It’s entering the Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wyoming markets.

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DALLAS –Dallas-based optical retailer Eyemart Express announced that it plans to have 25 new locations operating by the end up 2019.

The company currently owns and operates 206 stores in 38 states, according to a press release. It’s expanding into four additional states: Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

“The drive behind our aggressive growth strategy is to make prescription eyewear accessible and convenient for more communities,” said Michael Bender, Eyemart Express CEO. “Seeing clearly should not be a burden or an excessive expense for any family. We work hard to make all our locations an affordable one-stop shop for all eyewear needs.”

Eyemart Express carries more than 2,000 frames for prescription glasses and sunglasses, ranging from exclusive private label brands to well-known brands such as Converse, Longchamp, Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban and Nike. Stores also feature onsite labs so 90 percent of glasses can be ordered and received on the same day.

“Eyemart Express’ growth helps entire communities as well. Job creation is an important factor in determining new store locations — we examine where Eyemart Express can make the biggest contribution to local economies with career opportunities,” said Bender.

More than 300 jobs will be created for hourly wage earners as a result of the optical retailer’s expansion.

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Warby Parker Rolls Out 5 Extended Sizes

They range from ‘extra narrow’ to ‘extra wide.’

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Eyewear  retailer Warby Parker is launching an “extended sizes” collection to help more consumers benefit from its products.

It features “five proportional sizes, ranging from ‘extra narrow’ to ‘extra wide’ and even including low bridge options,” the Observer reports.

Twenty-seven styles are available in seven best-selling frames.

To leverage augmented reality, the company utilized Apple’s ARKit and TrueDepth camera to create software that evaluates proper fit, according to the Observer.

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Warby Parker co-founder Dave Gilboa was quoted saying, “We started getting feedback from our customers saying, ‘I love these styles, but you don’t have anything that fits me’ or ‘you only offer one frame that fits me.’”

Chain Store Age reports that Warby Parker spent two years developing the new sizes.

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Vision Health Firm Buys Italian Company Focused on Retinal Screening and Telehealth

Next Sight develops robotic and IT technologies to provide ophthalmic diagnostic solutions.

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Luneau Technology has acquired Next Sight, an Italian company specialized in retinal screening and telehealth.

This acquisition “brings to Luneau increased capabilities – covering both Back and Front of the eye – to propose a comprehensive eye exam, which is a key customer need” and it “supports and brings a set of experience and technology which will help to drive forward a focus on a range of telehealth solutions for Luneau Technology group,” according to a press release.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Paola Griggio, CEO of Next Sight, will continue to manage initiatives around retinal topics and will also take up a key leadership role as she is appointed vice president for telehealth at Luneau Technology.

Marc Abitbol, president and CEO Luneau Technology, said, “It is a great opportunity for Luneau Technology to expand our offer.

“We are very excited to enter the telehealth space and welcome Paola among our management team to lead this new capability for the group.”

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Luneau Technology produces devices aimed at ophthalmic, optometrists and optical professionals.

Next Sight develops robotic and IT technologies to provide ophthalmic diagnostic solutions. Next Sight produces Nexy, a device which allows retina screening through a platform to securely send patient data to remote locations.

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