Natalie Massenet in disruptor investment fund launch
The rumours have been swirling around her for some time and now she's finally confirmed what everybody expected. Dame Natalie Massenet is launching a venture capital firm that will invest in e-commerce.
As expected, she's teaming up with Nick Brown, who is a long-time investor in consumer facing start-ups, with the company they’re now running being called Imaginary Ventures. They have closed their first fund with investment of $75 million and will be pumping it into start-ups with plenty of growth potential.
These include Millennial-focused beauty products specialist Glossier and hair loss specialist Keeps, as well as Appear Here, Daily Harvest, Dirty Lemon, Everlane, Good American, Heist, Hum Nutrition, Reformation and Universal Standard. And apart from areas such as fashion and beauty, the two will also look at wider lifestyle sectors as well as wellness, food and beverage.
Investors in the fund include Matchesfashion co-founders Tom and Ruth Chapman who are flush with cash themselves after selling that business last year.
Massenet’s move comes three years after she stepped down from the top job at Net-A-Porter, the luxury e-tailer that she founded while also kicking off the whole concept of luxury retail online in the process. Not that she has been simply relaxing in the intervening period, working closely with Net-A-Porter’s rival Farfetch as it grows fast and prepares for its multi-billion-dollar IPO.
Massenet said of the new venture that she enjoys dealing with entrepreneurs and while the new company isn't specifically fashion-focused, her background in that sector will likely be a door opener to fashion opportunities.
She was contemplating retirement, apart from her Farfetch work, until Nick Brown appeared on the scene. Previously an investor in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop when he was a partner at 14W Venture Partners, he clearly impressed her and the two now have a chance to do just what their previous ventures have already done - disrupt several sectors.
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