Ralph Lauren Aims to Support Women-Led Tech Companies With New Investment

Ralph Lauren Corp. has made a new investment in Franklin Templeton in a bid to “scale innovative consumer solutions” and support women-led companies focused on consumer technology.

Through the new partnership, Ralph Lauren will make an undisclosed capital investment in the asset manager’s Franklin Venture Partners unit, which focuses on mid- and late-stage private companies. In a statement about the investment, the company noted that this partnership is a “natural extension” of its commitment to supporting a gender-equal world.

According to Ralph Lauren, the partnership allows the company to leverage Franklin Templeton’s “deep investment experience” to open new opportunities for it to develop and deploy new technologies. The deal also provides a platform for Ralph Lauren to discuss trends and opportunities with industry peers and experts, as well as benefit from Franklin Venture Partners’ extensive network and new avenues for data, research and insights into emerging consumer technology, the brand noted in a statement.

“At Ralph Lauren, the powerful combination of honoring our heritage while embracing innovation has guided our brand and business for decades,” Ralph Lauren Corp. president and CEO Patrice Louvet said in a statement. “Participating in opportunities like this one with Franklin Venture Partners is one example of how we are pursuing new pathways for innovation, and we are excited to support the growth of these companies and benefit from insights and technology that can help guide our company and our industry’s future.”

This news builds on Ralph Lauren’s 2020 minority investment in Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), a startup focused on sustainable material science. Through this deal, Ralph Lauren committed to expand its use of recycled post-consumer cotton, helping to advance the company’s progress toward sourcing 100% of its key materials, including cotton, by 2025 and integrating zero-waste principles across its business. The company noted that this partnership will help it to replace and reduce its reliance on non-biodegradable synthetics, such as polyester and nylon, while scaling the use of more sustainable and upcycled materials.

Last June, Ralph Lauren Corp. doubled down on its commitment to the environment, to diversity and to transparency in the company’s 64-page “2021 Global Citizenship & Sustainability” report. In the report, the company, which has an ongoing commitment to the environment via its “Design the Change” pledge, said it planned to reduce its impact on the environment through its supply chain operations by how it affects water, energy, emissions and waste through strategic partnerships and technology choices.

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