Dame Natalie Massenet launches Imaginary Ventures fund

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Founder of Net-A-Porter.com, Dame Natalie Massenet, has confirmed the launch of a new retail and ecommerce venture capital fund, established with Nick Brown.

Imaginary Ventures has already raised its first fund of $75m (£52m), which will be invested in startups in the fashion, beauty, wellness, food and beverage, and lifestyle industries.

Current business investments include makeup and beauty brand Glossier, the Good American denim brand co-founded by Khloé Kardashian, US label Reformation, tights brand Heist, Everlane, Appear Here, and designer ecommerce platform Farfetch.

Massenet, who is non-executive co-chair of Farfetch, 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.”

Partner Nick Brown said about the new venture: “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.”

Other partners of the fund include Tom and Ruth Chapman, who founded matchesfashion.com and recently sold a majority stake in the business to Apax Partners for a reported £800m.

Massenet was appointed as non-executive co-chair of Farfetch in February 2017, and rumours of her plans to launch a venture capital business started after it was discovered she had registered the Imaginary Ventures business one month after leaving Net-A-Porter.com in 2015.