Vancouver e-commerce brand KITS Eyecare closes $55 million IPO, begins trading on TSX

Vancouver e-commerce retailer KITS Eyecare, a digital eyewear company, has closed a $55 million initial public offering (IPO) and began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) Tuesday morning.

KITS was founded in 2018 and is led by longtime entrepreneur Roger Hardy. The startup touts itself as a digital eyecare platform and provides eyewear including glases and contact lenses. It also provides a suite of online vision tools, such as digital fitting, virtual try-on, and online vision tests. The e-commerce company was founded by Hardy, along with Sabrina Liak and Joseph Thompson.

Hardy previously founded other retail companies, including Shoes.com, which ultimately shut down in 2017. This is also not Hardy’s first foray into the eyewear space, other eyewear brands he ran and founded included Clearly.ca, Coastal.com and Lensway.se, which were acquired by Essilor in 2014.

KITS announced the close of its IPO on Tuesday. The $55 million IPO consisted of the issuance of 6,470,588 common shares at a price of $8.50 per share. The company began trading on Tuesday, with shares trading at $9.33 at the time of publication.

Hardy is set to control 27.4 percent of KITS upon the closing of the IPO, with the CEO fully exercising an overallotment option.

The IPO was managed by a syndicate of agents led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. It also included CIBC World Markets, Scotia Capital, Roth Canada, ULC, Haywood Securities and Stifel Nicolaus Canada. A group of KITS’ principal shareholders granted the agents an over-allotment option, exercisable for a period of 30 days following the closing of the IPO. This provides an opportunity for the agents to purchase up to an additional 15 percent of the number of shares sold.

KITS is the latest in a slew of Canadian companies to hit the public markets – a growing trend over the past year.

In December, both Emerge Commerce and WeCommerce, companies that acquire commerce brands, went public on the TSX Venture Exchange. Virtual care tech company Think Research made its debut recently as well, following in the footsteps of other healthtech companies that have gone public in recent months include MCI Onehealth, which recently raised $30 million for its initial public offering (IPO) as well as MindBeacon, which secured $75 million for its IPO.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.