Oakley Capital invests in Horizons Optical

Oakley Capital invests in Horizons Optical. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Oakley Capital invests in Horizons Optical. Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Horizons Optical and Oakley Capital, the leading pan-European, mid-market private equity investor, announced that Oakley Capital Origin Fund I is investing in Horizons Optical, a provider of medical software used to make premium spectacle lenses. Origin is acquiring a majority stake in the business alongside CEO Santiago Soler, who will retain a significant share in the business and will continue to lead Horizons. As part of the agreement, Oakley is acquiring the shares in Horizons owned by Sherpa Capital, a leading private equity firm in Iberia.

Long-term growth prospects

Founded in Barcelona in 2017, Horizons’ proprietary and patented software is used by independent laboratories around the world to manufacture bespoke, ‘progressive’ lenses that can correct a range of eye conditions including short, mid and far sightedness as well as astigmatism, all in one lens.
10 million lenses were produced with Horizons’ technology in 2023. Horizons also provides equipment for opticians with the capability to scan consumers’ faces and measure relevant facial parameters for the manufacturing of lenses and frames.

Horizons operates in a lens market with strong, long-term growth prospects, underpinned by a growing ageing population and the increased incidence of vision conditions caused by excessive screen time on mobile phones and desktop computers. At the same time, Horizons is growing the market by developing tools to help opticians sell to more customers, including its recently-launched Mimesys virtual reality headset which enables optometrists to accurately measure customers’ eyes in order to produce bespoke lenses.

Sherpa Capital invested in Horizons in 2017 through Fund II. The business was established in response to a market need that was identified prompting the company to explore avenues to enhance value creation. The strategy focused on two key areas: firstly, providing value-added solutions to independent laboratories to enable direct competition with larger integrated groups; and secondly, pioneering innovative solutions, such as virtual reality applications, within the optical industry to elevate the user experience in optical stores.
During Sherpa Capital’s investment period, Horizons Optical has experienced significant growth, with the management team playing a pivotal role in this journey and facilitating the firm’s international expansion into markets such as the United States, Asia, and Latin America. The business has seen exponential revenue growth in recent years, largely due to prudent financial management as well as dedication to quality. Throughout this period, Horizons Optical has focused on enhancing product quality and exploring innovative solutions to meet customer needs.

Oakley’s Investment

Oakley’s investment in Horizons reflects its strategy of partnering with founder-led, entrepreneurial businesses to help them innovate and accelerate growth. Oakley will leverage its strong track record of building market leaders to help Horizon accelerate its international growth plans, taking market share as a high-quality, innovative solution for lens manufacturers and opticians looking to offer bespoke eyecare solutions for consumers, while also leveraging its strong market reputation for exceptional customer service. Oakley will also support investment into R&D and Sales & Marketing to ensure Horizons continues to win as an innovator and disruptor in its core markets.

Oakley Capital co-founder and Managing Partner Peter Dubens said: “Horizons Optical has all the hallmarks of a typical Oakley deal: a disruptive leader in a niche market, with strong software IP and led by an exceptional management team. We look forward to working with Santiago to help the business realise its full potential, taking advantage of strong market growth drivers as well as leveraging our expertise helping to scale software businesses including Grupo Primavera in Iberia.”

Horizons Optical CEO Santiago Soler said: “Our focus on quality, innovation and exceptional customer care have driven Horizons’ strong performance to date. Oakley clearly shares our values and so we are delighted to be partnering with the Firm as we embark on the next stage of our expansion. We have travelled this path of growth alongside a strong partner in Sherpa Capital, to whom we are grateful not only for their investment in Horizons and belief in our potential but also for providing the company with a spirit of continuous improvement and excellence. We see enormous potential to further grow our international business, benefitting from Oakley’s expertise to expand our service offering and drive professional improvements across our business.”

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