NEW YORK—After ringing the bell to open trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) this morning, Warby Parker Inc. executives saw shares in the company get off to a flying start via their nontraditional direct listing. The opening trade in Warby Parker (ticker symbol WRBY) was priced at $54.05 per share, which valued the company at about $6 billion. That market cap valuation moved even higher as shares subsequently hit an intraday high of $54.72 in trading on the NYSE.

Warby Parker shares closed the first day of trading at $54.29. The “reference price” assigned by the NYSE before trading began this morning was $40. (This was much higher than the private trades in Warby Parker shares earlier this year, in the $24 to $25 price range, as noted in the company's SEC filing in August.) 
According to its filings, Warby Parker’s registered stockholders planned to sell up to 77.7 million class A shares in today’s offering. The company’s main investors at the time of today’s offering were Tiger Global Management, T. Rowe Price, General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners and Durable Capital, according to its filings.
Warby Parker announced late last month that it had filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to the proposed public listing of its Class A common stock, as VMAIL reported.
On Wednesday, via Instagram the company noted that it is “becoming the first public benefit corporation to go public through a direct listing. This pushes us even closer to our ultimate objective: vision for all.”
And, to celebrate this listing, Warby Parker said it has launched the Warby Parker Impact Foundation, “a public charity dedicated to helping people see—enabling them to thrive in the classroom, workforce and beyond.”
For the first half of 2021, Warby Parker posted a $20.4 million loss on $270.5 million in sales, according to its SEC filing. For all of 2020, the company registered a loss of $55.9 million on $393.7 million in sales.
Earlier this month, as VMAIL reported, the company issued updated financial guidance for the current fiscal year, which indicated the company expects to achieve net revenue of $532.0 million to $537.0 million, representing growth of 35 percent to 36 percent (versus fiscal year 2020) and growth of 44 percent to 45 percent (versus fiscal year 2019). The adjusted EBITDA margin is expected to come in within a range of approximately 4 percent to 5 percent, and Warby Parker expects that it will open between 30 and 35 new stores, bringing the total store count to 155-160.
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Warby Parker said that, as of Sept. 28, 2021, the company had 111.5 million shares of common stock outstanding, consisting of 92.5 million shares of Class A common stock and 19.0 million shares of Class B stock.
Only shares of Class A common stock are NYSE listed. Each outstanding share of Class B common stock is convertible, at any time, at the option of the holder, into one share of Class A common stock, the announcement noted.
In a direct listing, a company’s current shareholders convert their stakes into stock that is listed on an exchange, rather than the company raising new outside capital as is done via a traditional initial public offering.