True, backer of Hush, raises further funds to invest in innovative retail brands

The True portfolio

True, the backer of digital-first women’s brand Hush, has revealed it has raised a further £275m to invest in innovative retail brands.

The specialist retail investor was co-founded by Matt Truman and Paul Cocker, who have a combination of finance and retail experience, and has grown to have £600m in AUM (Assets Under Management) in just five years.

It takes a different approach to investment from traditional private equity houses placing equal importance on people, planet and profit, as evidenced by its recent B Corporation certification.

True takes majority and minority positions, investing up to £50m, in “future-fit, digital-first businesses that are capitalising on the shift in consumer behaviour”. Its current private equity portfolio includes Hush, in which it invested just over a year ago, online community fitness platform Zwift, cycling brand Ribble, online furniture business The Cotswold Company and sustainable childrenswear brand Frugi.

Its early stage seed fund includes businesses such as mens make-up brand War Paint, female sexual wellness brand maude and workplace mental health platform Unmind.

In addition True operates a “Live Network” enabling its early stage businesses to connect with its PE portfolio, along with international Partners such as TJX, Warner Bros, 7-Eleven, Johnson & Johnson and Marks & Spencer, to generate a flow of insight and best practice to support their growth.

Co-founder and CEO Matt Truman said: Five years after launching our first fund, I am so excited to announce our third, and now with over £600m assets under management. I am incredibly proud of the True team, as well as our brands and partners that have made it all possible. By supporting businesses in what we believe is the right way, we have proved you can scale a portfolio and be proud that the growth hasnt come at the expense of people or planet.

Paul Cocker Co-founder of True added: This is another exciting step forward for our team and I think a really strong endorsement of the results we’ve had by taking a deliberately different approach at True over the last few years. I am a passionate believer that there is a better, more diverse, more inclusive way to build an investment firm than is typical in our industry, which is why we’ve actively sought to learn from the B Corporation assessment process.

“We seek to draw on the cultural benefits our new approach brings, and our own experience of the challenges of building a business, in order to be more helpful to the entrepreneurs and management teams that we partner with. I’d like to say a huge thank-you to all of them for the critical role they have played in helping us reach this latest milestone. We now have a massive opportunity to help more great brands grow in the right way – and I can’t wait for the next stage of the journey.”

Hush CEO Kate Bartman said: “The team and I have been really impressed with the level of ongoing support we have received from the team at True. They’ve actively helped to attract new talent for our team and introducing new technologies too – one that has already resulted in us growing revenue significantly. Not only have I been surprised by the level of considerate assistance we’ve had from True, but it’s been great getting to know and share best practice with other founders and leaders from the portfolio, who share similar challenges and experiences to us.”

Listen to our recent podcast with True co-founder and CEO Matt Truman here.

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