Developing the leading platform for the eyewear industry
Fielmann Ventures is at the heart of Fielmann’s vision to digitise the eyewear industry to the benefit of consumers without compromising quality. Whereas the Fielmann Group employs hundreds of specialists working in an agile product organisation, Fielmann Ventures focuses on the disruptive technologies that will revolutionise the eyewear industry.
Fielmann Ventures focuses on the industry’s unique position at the intersection of retail, fashion and healthcare to develop the leading platform for the eyewear industry available for customers, healthcare professionals and suppliers.
How we work
Digitisation has fundamentally altered traditional market rules. Exclusivity and control give way to partnerships and networks. Fielmann Venture’s focus on the eyewear industry allows us to integrate often-separated entities into one holistic unit. With a team of 20 specialists with expertise in computer science, optical physics, mathematics, strategy, business development and finance, we serve our industry as venture capitalist, incubator, accelerator, strategic partner and research unit. It is our firm belief that mutually beneficial partnerships will create a network that will bring about the leading platform for the eyewear industry.
To develop disruptive technologies that create value for eyewear consumers, healthcare providers and manufacturers, we offer three forms of collaborations:
Some disruptive technologies are already available in the market, they just need to be integrated into Fielmann’s omnichannel platform. Hence, Fielmann Ventures employs a dedicated team that continuously scouts the market for existing solutions and services with disruptive potential. As a strategic investor, Fielmann Ventures offers numerous advantages beyond the financial benefits. We are open for Investments in all stages. A recent example has been our investment in augmented reality leader FittingBox.
2. Strategic partnerships
Some disruptive technologies in our market are already in sight – they just require that some partners pool their resources and develop the solution. Thus, Fielmann Ventures works in several strategic partnerships with start-ups and large corporates to develop disruptive technologies such as millimetre-precise 3D lens-fitting that enables omnichannel sales of prescription eyewear without compromising quality.
3. Research collaborations
Some technologies are in an experimental stage so that the only way to acquire them is by own research and development. Fielmann Ventures boasts its own R&D team comprised of specialists with expertise in optical measurement, software development and machine learning that are supported by our scientists at our Fielmann Academie Plön Castle and our production facilities in Rathenow. With 14 directly and indirectly held patents and many more pending Fielmann Ventures is committed to cutting-edge research. We work closely with leading scientists and other R&D departments to create technologies such as a fully automatic and device agnostic online eye test.
Our Projects & Investments
FittingBox investment, 3D Try-On
Fielmann Ventures GmbH announced in November 2018 that it has subscribed to a capital increase for a 20% equity ownership stake in FittingBox S.A., the world leader in 3D Try-On solutions dedicated to eyewear. With 13 patents, FittingBox is a global leader in 3D Try-On and fitting technology.
FittingBox provides a 3D Try-On solution in real-time for eyeglasses and sunglasses that is technologically superior to all relevant alternatives. Additionally, FittingBox has built and maintains the world's largest database of frames photos and 3D models of frames (more than 80,000). With a strong focus on Research and Innovation, FittingBox has won numerous awards over its 10+ year history. The company is a key component of the digital eyewear platform that Fielmann Ventures is building together with its partners.
Millimetre-precise 3D Lens Fitting
It has become evident that accurate lens fitting is one of the key impediments to providing prescription eyewear online without sacrificing quality. Inversely, an online-based millimetre-precise 3D lens fitting would have disruptive effects on our industry. Apparently, 3D face renderings and 3D frame models as well as intelligent algorithms are the solution to this challenge. Fielmann Ventures has developed its own omnichannel lens fitting solution for which a patent has been granted and further ones are in review. Now we are pooling our know-how and resources with a large corporate and a start-up that have relevant expertise in measurement and meshing technologies. Together, we will create a solution that will be an important component in providing Fielmann quality in an omnichannel world of prescription eyewear.
Own Research & Development
Online Eye Test
The eye test, consisting of an objective and subjective refraction, is the core competency of any healthcare professional working in optical retail / optometry. A full online eye test that fulfils legal, regulatory and optometric requirements is not in sight. Yet it is conceivable that the objective part of the process conducted with a so-called auto refractor can be digitised in the near future. Fielmann Ventures works closely with R&D departments of other companies and with leading scientists to create an automatic and device agnostic online eye test. Our first patent was submitted in January 2019. Further patents will be filed soon.
About Fielmann Group
Fielmann Ventures is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fielmann Group. Fielmann stands for fashionable eyewear at fair prices. The stock-listed family business operates more than 700 stores, serves more than 24 million customers across 14 countries. In Germany, the company sells every second pair of glasses.
Fielmann covers the whole value chain of the optical industry, is designer, manufacturer and optical retailer. Fielmann employs more than 20 employees in design and product development as well as over 1,000 staff in its production and logistics facilities in Rathenow. The former summer residence of the Danish king today houses the Fielmann Academy Plön Castle. The world’s largest training facility for opticians educates more than 7,000 opticians per year.
Until this day, Fielmann is still majority-owned and run by the Fielmann Family. This allows for a clear governance and a sustainable long-term perspective when discussing strategic projects. Marc Fielmann is a non-executive director of Fielmann Ventures