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Big Omaha Video Series: Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker

Neil Blumenthal at Big Omaha 2011 – Friday, May 13, 2011

Today, we’re pleased to share with the you the fifth video in our Big Omaha 2011 Video Series, brought to you by CoSentry.

The video features Neil Blumenthal, one of the Founders of Warby Parker, a company that he and three friends launched in early 2010 with the belief “that eyewear can be a powerful advocacy tool for global issues.” For every pair of designer frames you purchase at $95, Warby Parker donates one pair through Restoring Vision and the Sunshine Lady Foundation, non-profits that facilitate the donation of eyeglasses to those around the world who can not afford a pair. Amazingly, Warby Parker has already donated over 50,000 glasses in 36 countries in less than a year.

I heard numerous mentions of Warby Parker in the press and through friends over the last year, then finally I had an opportunity to meet Neil in person, and learn more about the company’s work at a conference we both attended in Washington, D.C. last August. I was immediately moved by the “one for one” model he and his team were utilizing to make an enormous impact in a very short period of time.

In his talk, Neil discussed his desire to do something to assist the one billion people who didn’t have access to basic glasses. That equates to 15 percent of the world’s population who are unable to effectively learn or work simply because they can’t see clearly. 

Neil challenged attendees to think about what the products and clothing we choose say about us as individuals as well as to consider how for-profit companies can be catalysts for change.

I love what Neil and the Warby Parker team are doing to solve a problem while also creating an amazing culture within the company and working to serve as a model for other emerging entrepreneurs and new businesses.

Rightfully so, Warby Parker has experienced an amazing amount of coverage and exposure over the last few months and is continually iterating and releasing new frames, ideas and partnerships. I encourage you to watch them continue to evolve over the next few months and years.

To read a recap of Neil’s talk, see our post:

“Big Omaha – Neil Blumenthal: ‘Glasses are fun, but they are un-fun when they are $500’ “

Please tell Neil thank you for his inspiration and time he spent with us in Omaha via Twitter at @NeilBlumenthal, and go purchase a pair of frames today at Warby Parker. Even if you don’t wear eyeglasses, it’s a great way to show your style and support for an amazing group of folks.

Big Omaha is Silicon Prairie News’ premier annual event held each May to inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs, especially those with an interest in the tech industry. Visit BigOmaha.com to learn more.

Next up: Thinc Iowa. If you enjoyed Big Omaha, then you’ll want to be the first to know about Thinc Iowa, an event aimed at exploring the common ground between startups and corporations. Sign up to be the first to learn more at thinciowa.com.