Net-a-Porter’s Natalie Massenet Invests in Retail Tech with a $75M VC Fund

Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet has confirmed her next gig: the launch of a new venture capital firm, formed with Nick Brown, formerly a partner at the venture capital firm 14W.

Dubbed Imaginary Ventures, the fund will focus on investing on “early-stage direct-to-consumer brands at the intersection of retail and technology.” The firm has closed its first fund of $75 million, which includes investments across the beauty, wellness, food and beverage, lifestyle and fashion sectors.

The company also announced a number of limited partners, which include Tom and Ruth Chapman, co-founders and joint chairmen of Net-a-Porter competitor Matchesfashion.com, and Rick Caruso of the Caruso Real Estate Group.

“Natalie has disrupted and inspired an industry through innovation, and Nick has built a formidable reputation as an intuitive early-stage investor. Ruth and I share many of their core values in building a consumer commerce business from the customer up, something that is vital in this competitive environment,” said Tom Chapman.

Some of the brands in the Imaginary portfolio include the direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier, targeting millennial consumers; the sustainable L.A.-based brand Reformation; Heist, which is best known for its seamless tights; the size-inclusive denim label Good American by Khloe Kardashian and Emma Grede; the socially conscious label Everlane; and Farfetch, where Massenet was named non-executive chairman last March.

Massenet, who announced the news via her Instagram account, said that all the brands in the firm’s portfolio are connected by their commitment to having “an authentic understanding of their consumer,” a quality that will ensure longevity in an oversaturated market.

“Online discovery and distribution platforms have made it easier than ever to launch a business, but equally, it’s made it even more challenging for them to thrive for the long term,” she added.

Having been supported by numerous angel investors when she was launching and expanding Net-a-Porter, Massenet said that she wants to give back and support all the brands and platforms she feels are going to disrupt the market.

“These are the businesses that are going to change our lives, how we shop, what we eat, how we feel, what we wear and how we disrupt the world of retail for a new generation of consumers. I was lucky enough to have extraordinary angel investors and mentors giving me much needed funding and advice along my journey, and it is a privilege to be able to return the favor,” she wrote.

Brown added that the firm is planning to stand behind businesses that have “the potential to scale” globally.

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