Warby Parker is staffing up its corporate team with an eye towards 'public company readiness'

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Warby Parker is looking to staff up with legal and investor-relations pros who can help it prep for being a public company. 

Last week, Warby Parker posted a job listing for an in-house lawyer “armed with extensive knowledge of corporate and securities law for public companies, especially when it comes to SEC and stock exchange compliance.” The assistant general counsel will be tasked with building the company’s securities function as it “builds to the next stage of growth, including public company readiness,” according to the job posting.

The company also recently posted a job listing for a first-ever head of investor relations, who will be tasked with SEC compliance, public disclosures, and quarterly earnings reports, among other public-facing communications. 

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that the trendy eyewear company has been talking with potential advisors about a listing that could come as soon as this year. 

“The signs are definitely there that they’re preparing to do this, which doesn’t rule out the possibility of merging with a SPAC,” said Jay Ritter, a University of Florida finance professor who has spent his career tracking IPOs. “But it would certainly look like they’re planning to do a traditional IPO or even a direct listing.”

Ritter said the new hires would likely help Warby Parker prepare audited financial statements in the event it does go public. Whether it does is dependent on a number of factors, including the strength of the stock market. 

A representative for Warby Parker did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Going public would also help Warby Parker expand its network of brick-and-mortar stores, a key factor in what sets the company apart from other online eyeglass sellers, according to DeAnn Campbell, vice president of retail strategy and insights at Harbor Retail

“They understood the need of brick and mortar to keep profit margins high,” Campbell said. “Now the only puzzle piece left is scale … that takes cash.” 

Industry analysts have long been speculating that the e-commerce giant, now more than a decade old, is on the path to a public listing. After a $245 million funding round last summer, the company was valued at $3 billion, according to TechCrunch.

Its backers include Tiger Global, General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners, and Durable Capital Partners.

2020 was a record year for consumer company IPOs, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Early 2021 saw several DTC companies, including used clothing sellers Poshmark and ThredUp, going public.

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