Net-A-Porter’s founder launches $75m retail tech investment fund

net a porter

Natalie Massenet, the founder of Net-A-Porter, has raised $75m (£52m) to invest in retail tech.

Imaginary Ventures, as the fund is called, will seek to back early-stage consumer businesses operating at the intersection between tech and retail.

The firm was co-founded by Nick Brown, an ex partner at 14W, a New York-based VC fund.

Massenet spoke about the launch in a statement: “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.

“Partnering with Nick to launch Imaginary made perfect sense. We have always shared a vision that the businesses that will endure will be those that relentlessly prioritise their consumers’ identities and needs and never lose sight of them as they grow.”

Massenet, an ex journalist, set up Net-A-Porter 18 years ago and sold a majority stake to Richemont, a Swiss luxury group, for £50m prior to taking the firm through a £2.7bn merger with Yoox Group three years ago. Once the merger was complete, Massenet departed Net-A-Porter.

Imaginary has drawn investment from Rick Caruso, the CEO of US real estate firm Caruso; and Tom and Ruth Chapman, the co-founders of Matches Fashion.

Imaginary will focus on startups operating across beauty, fashion, food, beverages, and lifestyle. Investments to date include Farfetch, Appear Here and Daily Harvest.