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Felix Gray


Felix Gray is on a mission to be centered around happiness and productivity in the workplace. The company launched in 2015 with a clear lens that both filters blue light and cuts glare. I had the chance to sit down with co-founder, David Roger, and hear about how he and his co-founder decided to start Felix Gray and how they got this venture off the ground.

The Devils Of Your Digital Screen: Blue Light & Glare

When David Roger graduated from Cornell University in 2013 he joined Venture for America, a two-year fellowship program for recent graduates who want to work at startups. David worked directly for Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh on his second venture – the Downtown Project. After spending countless hours in front of his computer screen building financial models for the Downtown Project, David started experiencing severe eye strain. A visit to an Ophthalmologist would help inform David on how common the umbrella condition, known as “Digital Eye Strain” is. Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain include, but are not limited to: dry eyes, eye fatigue, blurry vision, and headaches. David further learned that the culprit for these symptoms was the blue light emitted from his screen along with the glare. If one could simply filter the blue light and remove the glare, a much more pleasant screen viewing experience could be created. David knew he wanted to be the one to solve this problem and launched his company, Felix Gray.

“After spending hours in front of a screen, and having the problem validated by others, I just knew I had to solve this problem.”

– David Rogers, CEO Felix Gray

Building Hardware Is Hard

Felix Gray is out to make eyes happier in our digital world through eyewear that filters blue light and eliminates glare. When launching Felix Gray, David faced two main challenges: developing a lens that could both filter blue light and appear clear, and creating a frame for the lens that was stylish. David explained that he “had to create a new market category as there was no one that had married the functionality of a filtering lens along with the form of a stylish frame”. After months of working with a supplier, David was able to produce a lens that was clear, filtered blue light, and looked stylish when attached to a frame. After a year and a half of working for Venture for America and raising a $20,000 round from an Indiegogo campaign, David packed his bags in May of 2015 and headed back to New York to work on Felix Gray full time.

“We had to create a new market category as there was no one that had married the functionality of a filtering lens along with the form of a stylish frame.”

– David Rogers, CEO Felix Gray

Bringing Their Vision To Market

David shared that “during the initial days of Felix Gray, running it solo did get lonely, and I knew I wanted a co-founder”. After moving to New York in July of 2015, David was introduced to Chris Benedict through a mutual friend. Chris had heard about David’s company and, having faced the same issue of eye strain during his time at UBS, Chris understood the problem and recognized the opportunity. After working with David for 3 months on a part time basis, the duo felt comfortable as co-founders and Chris quit his full time job and took the leap.

In January of 2016, the duo conducted a 4-month beta of their frames by partnering with 1000 employees across 25 companies including: Spotify, Uber, Jet, LinkedIn, WeWork and Barclays. The employees were given the frames to try for a 2 week period, and at the end of their trial they could either return the frames or purchase them out of pocket. On the success of the beta, David mentions “when 20% of the employees decided to keep their frames and purchase them out of pocket, we knew we were on to something”.

“During the initial days of Felix Gray, running it solo did get lonely, and I knew I wanted a co-founder.”

– David Rogers, CEO Felix Gray

Felix Gray Sleep Glasses

Can’t I Just Switch Night Mode On?

Potential customers may wonder whether Felix Gray’s frames add value beyond the night mode functionality on mobile devices or the option to filter blue light on a screen’s menu options. On the topic, David shares that “white light is the inclusion of all light, i.e. your RGB (Red Green Blue) levels are all at 100%. Unless your screen is completely Red or Green, you’re not truly filtering out the blue light. Making use of those menu options will certainly make your viewing experience more comfortable, but it’s not a true solution and it doesn’t address glare at all”.

While there are certainly a plethora of competitors in the sole category of eyewear, a multi billion dollar market, only a few retailers such as Zenni and EyeBuy Direct currently offer solutions to block blue light. EyeBuy Direct’s EBDBlue glasses and Zenni’s Blokz both offer protection from blue light, but only Felix Gray offers solutions in eyeglasses, sleep glasses & sunglasses. Further, the company also offers optional magnification to reduces stress on the eye’s ciliary muscle.

Felix Gray Optical Glasses

What’s Next For Felix Gray?

The company recently closed a $6M round of early stage funding in January 2019 from firms including  3G Capital Investments and Silas Capital. Felix Gray continues its foray into expanding the new market segment for fashionable eyewear that improves productivity. The eyewear is currently only available through their website and additional avenues for distribution are actively being evaluated.


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