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The Warby You Dont Know Image Credit: Inc.
The Warby You Dont Know Image Credit: Inc.

The Warby You Don't Know

Why Warby Parker’s Founders Are Doubling Down On Deep Tech And Retail Stores—Really—To Vault Their Beloved Startup Into Its Next Phase.

Tom Foster

IF WES ANDERSON MADE A MOVIE ABOUT START UPS, WARBY PARKER’ S NEW YORK CITY HEADQUARTERS WOULD BE THE SET.

Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, the bespectacled and boyishly handsome co-founders and co-CEOs of the eyeglasses purveyor, sit in wood-and-leather mid-century chairs around a long library table in a room lined to the ceiling with books shelved according to the color of their spines to create a rainbow effect. Everything at Warby’s offices in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan is as impeccably styled as this—a mashup of Mad Men–era ad agency and Ivy League reading room, with hidden doors to secret nooks and hand-drawn wallpaper depicting favorite moments in the company’s history. The pair, both 36, are here with several staffers to demo a product that, they say, starts a new chapter for Warby.

Lauralynn Drury, a former JPMorgan Chase VP on Warby’s strategy team, holds an iPhone in front of her and moves backward from a laptop facing her on a table. When she has stepped back a precise distance, the phone vibrates and a graphic tells her to stop. She’s ready to start taking a vision test—no optometrist appointment necessary, nothing needed but 20 minutes and two screens found in almost every household.

Her phone has already asked her questions to determine whether she’s eligible for the test. (When


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