TECHNOLOGY: Eye² Fielmann Ventures Takes Equity Stake in Smart Glasses Pioneer Deep Optics By Staff Friday, November 11, 2022 12:18 AM HAMBURG, Germany—Fielmann Ventures, the venture and investment arm of Fielmann Group, has entered an agreement to acquire a 10 percent equity stake in Deep Optics, a leading deep tech company and developer in the electro-optics space. Fielmann Ventures is leading a Series C investment in Deep Optics, enabling the adaptive glasses company to further develop its groundbreaking technology. Deep Optics, based in Petah Tikva, Israel, is the inventor and pioneer of dynamic focal glasses sold under the 32°N brand.Its proprietary technology uses pixelated liquid crystal lenses to adjust the focal distance of glasses to any distance. As a result, the wearer has a much larger field of vision compared to glasses with conventional progressive lenses. “This technology not only has the potential to disrupt the optical lens market but also offers exciting applications in the field of smart glasses,” Fielmann Ventures said in a statement.“This investment is a decisive step in our Vision 2025 as part of which we digitize our family business,” said Marc Fielmann, CEO of Fielmann Group, which operates one of Europe’s largest optical retail chains. “Following our customer-centric philosophy, we grow a portfolio of disruptive technologies that fundamentally transform the customer experience in the eyewear and acoustic markets. Our investment in Deep Optics extends our smart glasses offerings and complements our technological capabilities. "While our 27 million customers will benefit from early access to a highly innovative lens technology, we also pave the way for a variety of exciting applications in the future: The ability to dynamically adjust the optical focus could become a game changer for the entire smart glasses industry. As part of our strategic partnership, we are going to jointly develop applications in the fields of progressive lenses and smart glasses,” Fielmann said. Yariv Haddad, CEO of Deep Optics, commented, “What excites me most about our partnership with the Fielmann Group is its complimentary nature: While we bring deep technology know-how and product development capabilities, Fielmann brings vast knowledge of customer needs and eyecare expertise. We share the belief in the future of adaptive optics, and we are going to jointly transform the customer experience using this technology. "After developing our unique liquid crystal lens technology, we are thrilled to begin marketing our first product, 32°N, the only one of its kind that utilizes our unique lenses. After completing a successful beta testing phase, we are going to make 32°N available for customers next year. The additional funding will help us scale our adaptive vision correction and to continue to develop cutting-edge products for vision correction, along with augmented and virtual reality applications,” Haddad said. Haddad told VMAIL that the Fielmann Ventures’ investment will enable Deep Optics to ramp up production of 32°N sunglasses, which the company is currently producing on a small scale for 1,200 Kickstarter backers who ordered them during the company’s online fundraising campaign in mid-2021. “We plan to make them commercially available during first half of 2023,” he said. Initial availability in the U.S. will be limited to online sales, according to Haddad, adding that distribution will be expanded to physical stores in the U.S. and possibly other online stores, globally. Although 32°N is currently available only as plano sunglasses, Haddad said Deep Optics is developing next generation products such as 32°N with Rx and Deep Optics Autofocal glasses that will feature clear lenses, automatic eye-tracking and continuous focusing. Some improvements are also planned for the frame design, and additional sizes may be added as Deep Optics moves toward the commercial launch, Haddad said. Outside of the ophthalmic market, Deep Optics is collaborating with companies in the augmented and virtual reality space (AR/VR) to improve optical performance and visual experience for users of AR/VR headsets. Deep Optics is also targeting the integration of its dynamic focal lenses in consumer medical devices in the field of visual health. Among its existing shareholders are EssilorLuxottica and Samsung Ventures.