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Natalie Massenet launches retail investment fund

The founder of Net-a-Porter and co-chairman of Farfetch, Dame Natalie Massenet, has co-founded a venture capital firm that will invest in retail and technology start-ups.

Imaginary Ventures, which was set up by Massenet and Nick Brown, a former partner at New York-based venture capital fund 14W Venture Partners, has closed its first fund of $75m (£52m).

The firm said it will make investments across the fashion, beauty, wellness, food and beverage, and lifestyle sectors, and launches with a strong portfolio of investments including Appear Here, Daily Harvest, Dirty Lemon, Everlane, Farfetch, Glossier, Good American, Heist, Hum Nutrition, Keeps and Universal Standard.

It aims to “maximise the growth of early stage companies that are capitalising on this rapidly changing environment, and that focus their strategy around an understanding of consumers’ evolving needs”.

Imaginary’s limited partners include Matchesfashion co-founders and joint chairpeople Tom and Ruth Chapman.

Massenet said: “I’ve felt for a while that I wanted to apply the brand-building experience and network I’ve gained over my career to today’s evolving retail landscape. The most effective route to do that was to partner with and invest in this emerging generation of entrepreneurs challenging the retail status-quo across every vertical.”

Brown said: “Natalie and I are partnering on Imaginary because we believe these emerging brands, platforms and retail solutions have the potential to scale into global businesses. I could not imagine a better entrepreneur and partner to build this platform with.”

Tom Chapman added: “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.”


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