Projects and investments
Fielmann Ventures serves the eyewear industry as venture capitalist, incubator, accelerator, strategic partner and research unit. We are continuously looking for strategic partners that share our goal of developing disruptive technologies that will transform our industry. Together, we will create a platform that will bring benefit to consumers, healthcare professionals and manufacturers alike.
Because of the strategic nature of our work and the agreements reached with our partners, we cannot disclose all our activities. Below you find some projects and investments that are indicative of our activities.
As a strategic investor, Fielmann Ventures not only offers financial support but also strategic guidance, access to its international supply chain and its omnichannel platform. Benefits reported by partners include the opportunity to get qualified feedback on minimum viable products, various test setups, access to data (within the constraints of the EU-GDPR and our Data Strategy), extensive sales support, network and strategic guidance. Fielmann Ventures is open for investments in all stages. Recent examples has been our investments in augmented reality leaders FittingBox and in Ubimax.
Ubimax investment, enterprise wearables
Fielmann Ventures GmbH announced in May 2020 that it has subscribed to a Series B capital increase for a 10% equity ownership stake in Ubimax GmbH, the global market leader for enterprise wearables and augmented reality solutions.
As a one-stop shop, Ubimax provides an all-in-one solution – Augmented Reality software, Wearable Computing devices, configuration and deployment services, as well as support. With offices in Germany, the U.S. and Mexico, Ubimax serves more than 400 enterprises around the globe. The company has built up a very strong partner ecosystem. In 2014, Ubimax launched xPick, the world’s first order picking solution running on Smart Glasses. Today, xPick is the leading vision picking solution in the world, used by organizations such as DHL, Samsung, or Volkswagen. Ubimax has won many prestigious awards including the AWE Auggie Award 2017 for “Best Enterprise Solution” as well as the MHI Innovation Award for “Best IT Innovation”.
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.
Collaborations & Strategic Partnerships
Some disruptive technologies in our market could already exist given that some partners pool their resources. As companies develop a more collaborative approach to digital technologies there lies huge potential in developing disruptive solutions together. Thus, Fielmann Ventures works in several collaborations and strategic partnerships with start-ups and large corporates. Benefits reported by partners include market insight, network, access to data (within the constraints of the EU-GDPR and our Data Strategy) as well as new business models and revenue sources.
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
Some technologies are neither available in the market, nor is there anyone willing to provide know-how for a strategic partnership. In these instances Fielmann Ventures conducts its own research and development. Our R&D Team consists of specialists with expertise in optical measurement, software development and machine learning. In their work, they draw on support both from scientists within the Fielmann Group as well as researchers from leading academic institutions and other companies. With 14 directly and indirectly held patents and many more pending Fielmann Ventures is open to co-patenting and patent-sharing. Benefits reported by research partners include market insight, network, access to data (within the constraints of the EU-GDPR and our Data Strategy) and research breakthroughs.
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.
Own Research & Development
3D Lens Fitting (2013 – 2018)
Since 2013, Fielmann Ventures has developed a lens fitting technology that forms the basis of our strategic partnership aimed at creating a millimetre-precise 3D lens fitting. Using rapid prototyping, agile software development, measurement series at Fielmann Academy Plön Castle and continuous feedback from our test stores, we have developed a state-of-the-art lens fitting software. In 2018, we rolled out this software in more than 700 stores. Our tablet-based centring solution allows our opticians to be even more precise and faster, thus increasing productivity and improving the customer experience.