Wearing glasses can be a tough adjustment for any child. I recently went through this process with my 4 year old son, Joseph. On his annual check up, my wife and I discovered that Joseph has advanced astigmatism in one eye. Overnight our family had to mentally adjust and figure out a way to get our son to accept wearing glasses, without hurting his confidence or self image. We tried numerous methods, to no avail. What finally worked was reading to Joseph the story of Superman, who by the day was glasses-wearing, mild mannered Clark Kent. From that day on, Joseph couldn’t wait to get his pair so that he could be just like his hero and inherit the special powers that prescription glasses would give him.
By pure coincidence, we met Sophia and Nathan from PAIR Eyewear, a week after my son got his first pair of glasses. Colored by this recent personal experience, we at Javelin immediately grasped how important and transformative PAIR can be for families everywhere. PAIR helps kids (and adults!) express their creativity while encouraging them to be excited about wearing glasses. With PAIR, glasses are a cool and enviable accessory, rather than at best, a nuisance, or at worst, something that can negatively impact a child’s self image and confidence. Imagine going to school with a customized PAIR Top Frame as your favorite DC or Marvel superhero, or being able to rep your favorite Hogwarts house, or sports team from the NBA?
PAIR Eyewear reinvents the eyewear industry by providing consumers with a personalized, fashionable, and affordable glasses buying experience. Under the PAIR brand and model, glasses buying is no longer a one-off purchase. By separating tops from base frames, PAIR allows customers to change out different designs without needing to buy a new pair of glasses. PAIR’s patent pending manufacturing process allows them to print and ship customized Top Frame prints, on demand, with consumers receiving them in days, rather than weeks (as is customary with regular prescription glasses). This provides for a delightful customer experience as well as a brilliant business model that has not been seen in the eyewear industry before.
We were also beyond impressed by Sophia and Nathan’s ability to create a proprietary IP moat around other beloved consumer brands like the NBA, Marvel, DC Comics, Harry Potter, Sesame Street, and more. We’ve seen first hand through Javelin’s investments in Niantic and Mythical Games just how powerful these exclusive licensing deals can be and how difficult they are to attain and structure. The fact that Sophia and Nathan have partnered with some of the most recognizable brands in the world and have so many more in the pipeline, speaks volumes to their sophistication and maturity as founders.
It’s not just kids that love the product. It’s adults too, who make up a large percentage of their customer base. With an NPS of 90, PAIR has a rabid following on Facebook groups and TikTok that demonstrates how passionate their users are about the product, and just how obsessed they are with collecting that next personalized top in limited-edition drops. The average customer owns multiple tops and most become returning customers within months.
PAIR’s beachhead market, the children’s market, is the fastest-growing segment of the eyewear industry. Thanks to increasing screen time and device use, 40% of children need glasses compared to 20% in the 1970s. PAIR’s stellar NPS scores and growth show the customization story is appealing widely to adults and children everywhere. We believe that the $140B global eyewear market is up for grabs by PAIR against dominant legacy players and that PAIR has the potential to become the next large global eyewear company.
Most importantly, we were drawn to Sophia and Nathan’s desire to build an iconic consumer brand that is harnessing technology to empower self-expression and confidence. We are no strangers to entrepreneurs who are seeking to build transformational brands, while leveraging technology to help as many people as possible. We saw these attributes when we invested in MasterClass, Thumbtack, Carbon Health, Niantic Labs, and others. We consider ourselves very fortunate that Nathan and Sophia chose us to partner with them to build the next enduring consumer brand.
PAIR’s mission has inspired a fantastic investor base to come together for their Series A round. We are excited to lead the round alongside investors like Advancit Capital, Precursor, Alpaca, Canaan, Norwest, Bolt, Gingerbread Capital, the Estee Lauder family office, David Rogier and Matt Rutler from MasterClass, Don Hoang from Revolut, and Julius Genachowski, the former chair of the FCC. Special shout out to Scott Hartley and TheFund.vc for introducing us.
Vivian and Alex