The vision of a children’s eyewear startup is sharpening.
Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, said last month at its monthly Update Night event that it will invest $20,000 more in its portfolio company Jonas Paul Eyewear. The fund’s total investment in the startup is now $25,000.
During the event, Jonas Paul Eyewear presented its progress to the Start Garden team and audience to secure more funding.
Founded by Ben and Laura Harrison, Jonas Paul Eyewear makes stylish prescription glasses for children for $95.
Inspired by their son Jonas Paul, the eyewear startup strives to create fashionable children’s glasses, using a minimalistic design and stainless-steel framework.
The startup also incorporates a “buy sight, give sight” program, where for every frame purchased through Jonas Paul Eyewear, the company contributes to CBM International to help bring vision to a person in need of corrective surgery or a pair of glasses.
“We are incredibly grateful for the additional funding from Start Garden, as we are confident it will be the impetus for Jonas Paul Eyewear to achieve a more rapid growth curve,” Harrison said.
Harrison said the latest investment will be used to develop and implement a marketing strategy for both digital and print platforms to increase brand awareness and promote the launch of prescription fulfillment.
Kim Pasquino, portfolio manager at Start Garden, said there's potential for the eyewear startup to take leadership position in the market for children’s eyeglasses.
“We have confidence in both Ben and Laura, and while we have some concerns about finding customers and scalability, we are excited around what’s next and will proceed with a $20,000 investment,” Pasquino said.
Jonas Paul Eyewear used the initial $5,000 investment from Start Garden to launch a product line expansion to include frames for young adults. The decision to expand their product base came from consumer demand for fashion-forward glasses that would fit older children and older petite faces.
Harrison said the product line for tweens ages 9-14 launched a few weeks ago, and the response has been encouraging.
“Sales have been strong for this new line, and we are very confident that we are positioning Jonas Paul Eyewear to be a major player in a necessary medical device market, while at the same time making kids all over the world look incredibly dapper,” Harrison said.