Warby Parker, the fashion company specializing in discount, specialty eyeglasses, is in the perfect position to take over the next wave in personal, wearable computing via Google Glass.
After recently raising almost $37 million in venture capital the eyeglasses company, Warby Parker, seems poised to do more than just make ultra-hip eyewear with a side of delicious customer service. Investors are known for looking ahead to future trends and it’s now become obvious that augmented-reality glasses are the new future of mobile devices. The popularity of Warby Parker and Google’s need for an existing market base makes them good partners as product designer, McKay Thomas, pointed out on September 11, 2012, stating, “Like any new piece of hardware looking for its first customer base, Google Glass, Google’s heads-up display device, needs a distribution platform. A platform for Google’s eyeglasses attachment could offer a sales channel, as well as type of social proof that it is acceptable to use the new wearable computer.” Filmmaker, Albert Art, agrees, stating, “IF Google decides to team up with an eyewear company, might I suggest Warby Parker.”
As LeVar Burton once said, “But don’t take my word for it.” Warby Parker is hiring a “Principal Software Engineer, Computer Vision” who can “develop computer / machine vision applications that make our company succeed.”
Why Compare Warby Parker to Apple?
As Marc Andreessen said on August 20, 2011, “Software is eating the world,” and as David Kirkpatrick argued in Forbes, “Every company is a software company.” Warby Parker is no exception. At their very core they are a e-commerce store, which is it’s very nature, software running on a web server, but it’s more than that. They have “virtual try-on” functions on their website that allow you to upload a picture and see what you look like without every touching a frame. They have developed a pattern for making money and an e-commerce blueprint for how to be successful in 2013 and beyond. This includes doing things like hiring directors of Data Science, Software Engineering, and Computer Vision. Nokia was the number one smartphone manufacture for 15 years and until Apple started making the iPhone they were pretty hard to unseat. Warby Parker has already begun to unseat Luxottica in a $16 Billion dollar industry. If they can develop a platform for Google Glass or other wearable, augmented reality applications from Microsoft like Apple did with iTunes, they can create the one-two punch of selling the hardware and the applications developed for them. It’s safe to assume Google will want to do the same with Google Play, but unless they go the route they did of developing their own Nexus smartphones and purchasing Motorola they are unlikely to control the eyeglass market and will need someone like Warby Parker to deliver their products.