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Net-a-Porter Group founder Natalie Massenet. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images)

The founder of online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter has officially announced her next act. Dame Natalie Massenet, who exited from the company she founded after its merger with Yoox Group in September 2015, has up until now remained mum about her plans for Imaginary Ventures, a company she registered with Companies House in the U.K. shortly after her resignation that year. But now she’s finally coming forward with more details about her new venture.

She’s teaming up with Nick Brown, a former partner of New York-based venture capital firm 14W, to invest in companies with focus on the direct-to-consumer e-commerce space at the “intersection of retail and technology” including fashion, beauty, wellness, food and beverage startups. They have plans to announce a $75 million raise for its first fund, with companies like online beauty startup Glossier and&nbsp;sustainable clothing brand Everlane&nbsp;already among its first investments. Others&nbsp;announced at launch include Daily Harvest, Dirty Lemon and Appear Here. The two are looking at companies that&nbsp;are in their earlier stages of development but have demonstrated growth potential. Backers of Imaginary Ventures include Tom and Ruth Chapman, who sold a majority stake in a company they also founded, Matches Fashion, to Apax Partners last year. Imaginary Ventures is based in London and will have offices there and in New York City.

In a statement, 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.”

Since leaving the company she founded, Massenet has laid low as far and declined to take on new business opportunities. Her only other move was joining Farfetch as a non-executive co-chairwoman in 2017. The new venture will no doubt rely on Massenet’s expertise in the fashion and luxury segments, and her experience in digital technology and e-commerce practices. Brown brings a wealth of experience in the investment arena – his former firm invested in Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company Goop in 2016. The 14W fund&nbsp;also boasts a diverse array of buzzy companies that include Reformation, Moda Operandi, The RealReal, Lola, Outdoor Voices and Daily Harvest. Brown was also an early investor in Warby Parker.&nbsp;

Brown also chimed in: “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.”

Indeed, their track record in the modern luxury space will give them considerable advantages&nbsp;over more generalist firms when targeting new investments.

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Net-a-Porter Group founder Natalie Massenet. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images)

The founder of online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter has officially announced her next act. Dame Natalie Massenet, who exited from the company she founded after its merger with Yoox Group in September 2015, has up until now remained mum about her plans for Imaginary Ventures, a company she registered with Companies House in the U.K. shortly after her resignation that year. But now she’s finally coming forward with more details about her new venture.

She’s teaming up with Nick Brown, a former partner of New York-based venture capital firm 14W, to invest in companies with focus on the direct-to-consumer e-commerce space at the “intersection of retail and technology” including fashion, beauty, wellness, food and beverage startups. They have plans to announce a $75 million raise for its first fund, with companies like online beauty startup Glossier and sustainable clothing brand Everlane already among its first investments. Others announced at launch include Daily Harvest, Dirty Lemon and Appear Here. The two are looking at companies that are in their earlier stages of development but have demonstrated growth potential. Backers of Imaginary Ventures include Tom and Ruth Chapman, who sold a majority stake in a company they also founded, Matches Fashion, to Apax Partners last year. Imaginary Ventures is based in London and will have offices there and in New York City.

In a statement, 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.”

Since leaving the company she founded, Massenet has laid low as far and declined to take on new business opportunities. Her only other move was joining Farfetch as a non-executive co-chairwoman in 2017. The new venture will no doubt rely on Massenet’s expertise in the fashion and luxury segments, and her experience in digital technology and e-commerce practices. Brown brings a wealth of experience in the investment arena – his former firm invested in Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company Goop in 2016. The 14W fund also boasts a diverse array of buzzy companies that include Reformation, Moda Operandi, The RealReal, Lola, Outdoor Voices and Daily Harvest. Brown was also an early investor in Warby Parker. 

Brown also chimed in: “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.”

Indeed, their track record in the modern luxury space will give them considerable advantages over more generalist firms when targeting new investments.

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