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Natalie Massenet reported to be setting up VC fund

Lauretta Roberts
06 March 2017

Dame Natalie Massenet is believed to be planning to launch her Imaginary Ventures venture capital business this spring, according to WWD.

Massenet established the Imaginary Ventures entity at Companies House in October 2015 shortly after her departure from Net-A-Porter following its merger with Yoox. She is listed as the sole director and shareholder of the business.

WWD now reports that she will launch it as a venture capital business specialising in e-commerce including in retail, fashion, lifestyle and beauty. It also suggests she will be partnering with Nicholas Brown, a New York-based VC expert and partner at 14W Venture Partners, which has backed among others Moda Operandi, Everlane, Reformation, FashionGPS and Lyst.

Massenet and Brown have declined to comment on the story but a source is quoted as saying that they have met with up to 50 investors and are planning to create a "sizeable" investment fund. Farfetch, which revealed last week that Massenet would be joining a non-executive co-chairman alongside executive co-chairman and founder Jose Neves, is one of the companies the fund plans to invest in, WWD claims, though Massenet is also said to be interested in new start-ups.

Massenet founded in 2000 and revolutionised the industry for luxury online. She departed the business in September 2015 after parent company Richemont agreed a merger with Yoox. Yoox CEO Federico Marchetti was appointed CEO of the new Yoox Net-A-Porter Group while Massenet had been due to act as chairman but instead opted to leave.

She has been chairman of the British Fashion Council since January 2013 and was awarded the DBE for services to the fashion industry last year.

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