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Farfetch investor seeks new digital fashion ventures

Farfetch investor Frederic Court has formed a $120m (£78.3m) venture capital fund to invest in UK and European digital fashion brands and enabling technologies.

Court, a former investment banker, has backed a number of successful start-ups and led the early investment in indie etail portal Farfetch, which was recently valued at $1bn (£652m).

His new venture fund, Felix Capital, is based in London. Its initial investments include a further minority stake in Farfetch – where he also sits on the board – as well as stakes in French online streetwear brand Rad and London-based online news site The Business of Fashion, all for undisclosed amounts.

Investors in the fund include former chief financial officer of Net-A-Porter Sebastian Picardo, who is also acting as an advisor.

Farfetch has been growing quickly since its launch in 2007 and in May it bought premium London boutique Browns. Court said: “That’s exactly why we raise capital: to enable companies to make those moves.”

The investment in Rad will see the brand expand its retail business internationally, with the UK and US seen as key target markets. Felix is also finalising a deal to invest in an online merchandising tool, with details to be announced in the next few weeks.

Court is now seeking further opportunities to invest in digital fashion brands, related technology companies – such as online marketing or mobile payment tools – and media companies.

It will look at companies throughout Europe, but Court said: “We expect the UK will eventually be our largest source of deals. We based the company in London because it is a magnet for talent in the creative industries.”

Court set up an online marketplace called Etexx for the textile industry in 1999. It aimed to replicate the experience of trade shows such as Première Vision online. However, the technology was not advanced enough at the time and the business closed in 2001.

That same year he became a partner at venture capitalist firm Advent Venture Partners.

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