Hopi, a yet-to-be-launched Dubai-based direct-to-consumer subscription contact lens startup has raised seed funding from Esanjo Ventures, a trading, investment and technology firm founded by JadoPado’s Omar Kassim, the startup announced today in a statement to MENAbytes. The startup did not disclose the exact size of investment but confirmed to MENAbytes that its a six-figure (USD) deal. It is Omar’s first investment since exiting JadoPado to Noon in 2017.
Founded earlier this year by Kristian Stinson and Charles Wright, Hopi had run a lead generation campaign to understand market demand in the UAE. The campaign that offered customers a discounted supply of lenses in exchange for their early-signup, per statement, secured more than 19,000 (email) subscribers in less than two weeks. This does not mean that all of them will turn into customers but it’s still a very large number that seems interested in the product.
Charles Wright, co-founder of Hopi, said that the results surpassed their expectations and prompted them to seek funding rather bootstrapping the business.
“Hopi’s subscription model ensures consumers can receive high-quality prescription lenses to their door, at a fraction of the cost of branded retail lenses,” said the co-founders in a statement.
The startup plans to use the funding to begin shipping its own range of optical and colored lenses to customers across UAE, with deliveries expected to begin later this year. Hopi is producing lenses by partnering up with Taiwanese optics manufacturer Pegavision.
Kristian Stinson, commenting on the occasion, said, “Contact lenses can be costly, so many GCC residents choose to buy them in bulk abroad rather than purchase them locally. Hopi aims to remove the barriers to buying with on-demand delivery of premium and reliable lenses to consumers across the region.”
Charles and Kristian had consulted with Omar in February when the startup was at inception.
“Given his track record, we were delighted at the prospect of partnering with Omar. We knew immediately that he and Esanjo Ventures would be an ideal fit for our company,” noted Kristian.
Omar Kassim, the Chief Executive Officer of Esanjo, said, “We’re super excited about working with both Kristian and Charlie to bring a new, direct-to-consumer e-commerce concept to market. Contact lenses are a great, high repeat category and we see lots of adjacent opportunities to expand into in the near future.”
Hopi aims to use the investment to fund its UAE launch and to build market share. The startup also has plans to expand into Saudi and other Gulf markets over next 18 months.
The startup did not share any details about their pricing in the statement.