MyOptique secures another £16m

The new funding round follows the release of data showing that UK venture posted an average one-year IRR of 22.9% in 2013.

MyOptique Group, a VC-backed European online optical retailer, has secured an additional £16 million (€20 million, $27 million) of funding, according to a statement.

Two new investors, Korys and Beringea, made the investment, with additional funding coming from existing investors Cipio Partners and Silicon Valley Bank. With the initial series C investment round from previous investors Acton Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Index Ventures, MyOptique has now raised £35 million in total. 

The capital will be used to further finance marketing investment and expansion into Europe as well as acquisitions, the investor group said in a statement.

MyOptique Group provides branded and own brand prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses via a portfolio of international websites including Glasses Direct, Sunglasses Shop, LensOn and MyOptique. The company, which recorded gross retail sales for the year ending April 2014 of £34 million, continued its growth into Europe last year, with non-UK sales now accounting for nearly two-thirds of its turnover.

“MyOptique is one example of a number of successful companies we are seeing in [the] e-commerce [space],” Roland Dennert, a managing partner at Cipio Partners told Private Equity International. “There are also a number of software companies and services business that have done well and have been growing rapidly. There’s never been such an optimistic time for technology investments since the internet bubble in 2000,” he said.

This view is supported by new performance data from the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), together with PwC and Capital Dynamics. Based on a survey of 515 UK-managed independent private equity and venture capital funds, the study found that venture recorded a one-year IRR of 22.9 percent in 2013, with funds launched after 2002 generating a 5.9 percent IRR since inception. This is the strongest annual showing by the venture capital asset class since the BVCA began tracking its performance, the association said.

Venture capital performance is certainly improving, Dennert agreed. “I don’t have visibility of track-records of the funds. But I see a number of good performing companies and I see good performance in our portfolio. The [venture] firms active today are all quite experienced and have been around for a while. They have both investment and operational expertise and know what they are doing. Overall, I think we have a European ecosystem that is a lot more mature than what we have seen 15 years ago.”

The survey also found that UK private equity as a whole continued to outperform other asset classes over the medium to long term. Over the last decade, UK private equity had an average IRR of 15.7 percent while total UK pension fund assets and the FTSE all-share generated 7.8 percent and 8.8 percent respectively.