2017 was an interesting year for crowdsourcing in the optical and eyecare industry. Believe it or not, the number of crowdsourced eyewear and accessories went down with only 94 crowdsourced entries. (One from Japanese faavo). The most familiar refrain is the same-we-have-been-hearing-this-for-3-years-already-boring-story.
Other than that most of the crowd-sourced campaigns are for sunglasses, 82 of them, which includes Ski Goggles and some Smart Glasses.
94 Fun-Raising Campaigns from 87 Companies or Campaigns.
- 35 Campaigns Made their fundraising goal.
- 46 Did not make funding goals.
- 10 Canceled their fundraising. Of the 10 products 5 are in business with websites.
- 3 we do not know
- 64 Appear to still to be in business, whether they made their goal or not.
- 32 Appear to be gone ‘Gone’: Meaning is no website, Facebook page link is broken or has not been updated for over 6 months. Unfortunately one is a Made in USA company and another an Eye Floater Research fund.
- 16 Companies returned to crowdsourcing to either launch a new collection or used both Indiegogo and Kickstarter to fund.
- 4 Are ‘optical companies’ as we know them, they are involved in various Facebook Groups or started by Eyecare professionals. Carbineria (Sam Shapiro), Proof Eyewear for the 2nd or 3rd time, Tangata Eyewear, WilsFabric.
Top 4 Winners
$100,460 USD– Zerpico (Sweden) This was the grand total of 3 campaigns, 2 on Indiegogo and 1 on Kickstarter for both titanium and wood Sunglasses. Zerpico is based in Sweden and offers interchangeable lenses on their titanium sunglasses with polarized lenses.
$111,000 USD Tens Eyewear (Glasgow. Scotland) back for their 2x and after receiving support from Richard Branson. custom lens tint that promises to make everyday life look and feel ten times better.
$179, 313 USD EyeQue (San Francisco, CA) At-home vision testing and tracking technology. ‘The EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker is an affordable and convenient high-tech vision screening tool. With the EyeQue miniscope, a supported smartphone, and the myEyeQue app, you can test your vision by screening your refractive error, your distance vision (nearsightedness, farsightedness) and astigmatism anywhere, anytime.’
$491,410 USD William Painter (San Diego) Back for his 3x. He amazingly has raised over $700, 000 to fund his new collections. This is for a titanium sunglass. Overall, San Diego, California based sunglass company, William Painter is a definite winner. In his 4th campaign Style Sloan, a wayfarer knockoff has raised over $33,000,
Of the 94 Companies:
69 Campaigns were Sunglasses, adding Carl Zeiss Lenses, polarized lenses, photochromatic lenses, self cleaning lenses. Seven companies were sport specific i.e cycling, skiing or swimming and 1 3D sunglass. Of all the sunglasses companies 30 were funded.
5 Companies were accessory driven: Not one made their goal. Sunglass straps, privacy visors and contact lens coasters were a part of the offerings.
2 Campaigns were subscription or membership platforms. Only one made their goal.
9 Companies were about exclusively lenses, 4 were computer lenses for Blue Light. 3 Companies received Funding. The rest were about Photochromic and Polarized lenses.
- Notable was Pupil Box an Blue Light Subscription Eyewear Service. They raised over $25,000.
7 Campaigns were about Smart Glasses whether in gaming or sports, cameras, bluetooth. Only 2 made funding goals. (Blincam and Smart Swimming Goggles.)
5 Companies launched titanium Eyewear Westwood, William Painter, Zerpico (Indiegogo and Kickstarter) and Specter. All made their fundraising goals and one cancel.
26 Companies- Campaigns launched Wood Sunglasses or a wood-bamboo combination. 12 Companies achieved their fund raising goal. 3 companies appear to be gone. 4 companies canceled their fundraising. Two shining stars:
- Karun (Chile) for the 2nd time launched a recycled denim eyewear collection. Their first fundraising was the upcycled ghost net eyewear. Karun is a give back to the community company. Loch Wood- Loch Sunglasses (Canada) raised $11, 941 This 500 year-old water-recovered old growth wood . Yes they dive for submerged timber and make sunglasses Very cool or cold.
Hemp Eyewear (2x Round for Hemp whose first campaign was to get his Hemp Eyewear off the ground. This is for the Sun lenses using Carl Zeiss lenses.
Where are They From?
- 41 From the United States (12 from California (7 which received funding), 4 From Florida (1 received funding), 2 from Hawaii, 2 from New York)
- 6 From Australia (1 funded)
- 6 From Canada (2 Funded)
- 1 From Chile (Funded)
- 1 Mexico (not funded)
- 6 China-Hong Kong 3 Funded
- 1 India (not funded)
- 1 Japan (Funded)
- 1 South Korea (Research for floaters, not funded)
- 1 Denmark (Canceled)
- 2 France (none funded)
- 1 Germany (Canceled)
- 2 Greece (none funded)
- 3 Italy (2 non-funded and 1 canceled)
- 3 Netherlands (1 funded)
- 1 Portugal (Funded)
- 3 Scotland ( 3 Funded)
- 3 Spain ( 2 not funded, 1 canceled)
- 3 Sweden all from Zerpico and all funded
- 5 UK ( 1 Funded, 3 not funded, 1 open)
There are many other Crowd-Sourced Resourced (See where to get money) As you can see from the below, is that many other established companies do use other Fundraising sites for various causes.
Is Crowd-sourcing viable? Over the last 3 years since we have tracking, this is what we learned statistically:
1.) Just because you make fund raising goals, does not insure that you will have enough money to start a business or to keep the business going.
2.) Two years is the breaking point, it separates the men from the boys so to speak.
3.) It is evident that once websites and social media are not updated, it is over for the companies.
4.) Lenses in particular polarized lenses are very important and are mentioned in almost every sunglass campaign. Photochromatic lenses, blue light and polarized lenses. Several have mentioned branded lenses such as Carl Zeiss or Essilor as the brands.
5.) Smart Glasses particularly those for sports are showing strong trends.