25-Year-Old Upper West Side CEO Will Pitch Her Business on Shark Tank Friday; You’d Better Root for Her!

Sophia Edelstein and co-founder Nathan Kondamuri on Shark Tank.

The Upper West Side is known for smoked fish, but this Friday the neighborhood will turn its attention to a different sea animal — the five sharks on the TV show Shark Tank who get to choose whether to invest in a startup. On this Friday’s show — airing at 8 p.m. on ABC — 25-year-old Sophia Edelstein will be pitching her business Pair Eyewear to the sharks.

Edelstein grew up on 87th Street and Broadway, before going to Stanford for college. She says her favorite local restaurants include Zabar’s, Cafe 82 and Modern Bread and Bagel.

Edelstein and her dad.

She met Nathan Kondamuri at Stanford, and they came up with the idea for Pair, which has now raised more than $2 million in venture capital funding. Edelstein explained the concept behind Pair for us:

“As the co-CEO and co-founder of Pair Eyewear, I am reinventing ​the entire glasses experience to be more empowering and fashionable for kids, while affordable and stress-free for parents.

While at Stanford, my cofounder, Nathan, shared his awful experience of wearing glasses as a child. At the time, I was studying Human Biology with ​a focus in healthcare economics and medical devices, and he was studying engineering. ​We wondered, why hadn’t anyone redesigned glasses from a static medical device to be more fun and dynamic? After talking to over 400 families, we discovered (unsurprisingly) that kids don’t enjoy wearing glasses, and parents dreaded the expensive and stressful process. Today, one in every four children wear glasses, and experts estimate that by 2050, it will be one in every two. Compelled by the stories we heard, we decided to reinvent the eyewear experience.

Combining our backgrounds in marketing, healthcare, and engineering, Nathan and I hatched Pair in our senior year. We brought on the former head of product from Warby Parker to lead product development of our frames which allow kids to continually customize the look of their glasses. In the same way children can change their shoes and clothes, Pair allows kids to express themselves through their eyewear. Through an expanding selection including limited edition and licensed designs, Pair is transforming glasses from a one-off purchase to an affordable and customizable ecommerce product with repeatable spend. Pair prescription glasses cost $45 and customizable tops are $24.95 each. The average Pair customer owns 5 tops and comes back 3 times a year for new products.

In addition to the smiles we bring our customers, we have also impacted the lives of thousands of kids around the world. To help the hundreds of millions of children who don’t have access to vision care, we built our Pair for a Pair program, where we donate a pair of glasses to a child in need for every pair sold. To date we have donated glasses to 5000 children.”

We’re rooting for you Sophia! Don’t forget us when you’re a trillionaire!

NEWS | 17 comments | permalink
    1. Bryan says:

      So cool! Can’t wait to watch the Upper West Side represented in the Tank 🙂

    2. Janice says:

      I have to tell you, this sounds like a GREAT idea!

      I wish her luck.

    3. Kim Rosenblum says:

      Fantastic idea! I wish them lots of luck!!

    4. Little grey dorf says:

      Fabulous! Wish you so much luck! I’ve been wearing glasses for over 60 years. Would’ve given my right arm as a kid to have cool looking frames. Brilliant! And great pricing (for anyone who’s worried, my frames are very cool now! But cost a tad more!). Good luck local girl! You go!

    5. This is always a great idea!

    6. EmilyonRSD says:

      Why is the percentage of children requiring glasses expected to rise from 25% to 50%? I’d like to see a scientific (.edu or .org) article about this.

    7. Georgie UWS says:

      At 62 .. I still remember my first pair of glasses (cat eye) .. my choice was blue or pink .. that’s it! This idea is Genius!!!

      Wishing you much success!!

    8. Natalie Ll says:

      I am a 77 year old woman who, when I was 8 years told ,was told i needed glasss, My mother who had glasses all her adult life didn’t want me to feel ‘ugly,’ Off we went went to Pildes then in downtown Manhattan. Glasses and lenses were about $7.00 a pair and they had a large selection of children size glasses. After much trying on and deciding we had it down to 7 pairs. Mother said–we will take them all, She wanted me to view eyeglasses as a fashion accessory. to this day, at a lot ore than 7:00 a pair, I always pick a new pair and change the lens in my old ones. Thank you mom–I have never felt ugly for wearing glasses. They always made me happy. And now, they hide the bags under my eyes

    9. Veta Clarke says:

      Sophia, your company, Pair Eyewear is a good economical,environmentally and family friendly business concept. So smart. The children’s feelings are well thought of. Much success to you and yr co-partner.

    10. Susan Kogon says:

      What a terrific concept! I’m sure the sharks will bite!

    11. Rita says:

      Sending good vibes from another upper west side family. We’ll be rooting for you. Great idea!

    12. Phyllis W says:

      👍🏽Good luck
      Sounds like a winner!!!

    13. UWSEd says:

      “… I am reinventing ​the entire glasses experience to be more empowering…”

      I know I’m old, but, REALLY?

      Did anyone see NYM’s article on corporate language? This seems like a prime example.

      Good luck, nevertheless!

    14. Carol Smith says:

      Hi Sophia and Nathan,

      We just watched you on Shark Tank and would love to offer you an invitation to participate in our resource guide – catalogs. Where we get them into the hands of human resource directors who are my key contacts and the key contacts for all of the employees in their companies. Over ½ million employees and growing.
      Contact me to connect and discuss all of the details, So many parents are working parents who need to know about your awesome business.

    15. Little grey dorf says:

      Yay!,, the two women sharks took them in. Very exciting! (Never watch the show but did last night!)