Wary Of The “Next Warby”
Warby Parker is astonishingly successful, whether you judge it by the rave reviews of customers, its valuation or, more impressively, by the number of startups that compare themselves to the iconic eyeglass innovator. Over the last couple of years, I’ve met with dozens of entrepreneurs who have pitched themselves as the “Warby of ________.”
Disrupting any category is difficult, but the consumer goods space can be one of the hardest, given the entrenched competitors, myriad channels and the need to appeal to ever-changing consumer tastes and trends. In the past, VCs rarely ventured into areas that seemed more like consumer packaged goods (CPG) than pure technology, but these lines have blurred. Some of the biggest successes here in the NYC tech scene sell glasses (Warby), mattresses (Casper) and razors (Harry’s/Dollar Shave Club).