By Eric Auchard
GOULT, France (Reuters) – Felix Capital, an early investor in firms ranging from luxury retailer Farfetch to Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company Goop, has closed its second fund of $150 million, which it will invest in tech savvy companies in the luxury industry.
With $300 million in total capital, Felix, set up two years ago by venture capitalist Frederick Court, says it will take stakes in emerging digital fashion brands and the technologies to enable them to compete.
Court was the earliest investor in Farfetch, one of the hottest venture backed online luxury companies in the world, which reported a 70 percent rise in gross sales last year to $800 million and has overtaken Net-A-Porter in website traffic, though it has yet to turn in a profit.
Farfetch announced two weeks ago it had raised $397 million from No. 2 Chinese ecommerce player JD.com to expand further into China from its base in Europe and the U.S.
“For the luxury industry, digital and China are the two topics in fashion today. For most brands, this is where the growth is happening,” Court, a native of France now based in Britain, said in an interview.
He declined to comment on reports that Farfetch could be considering a stock market listing later this year or in 2018. The company has said it is not under any pressure to do so.
Felix also holds a stake in The Business of Fashion, a blog-turned media company that competes with WWD.com (Women’s Wear Daily) for fashion industry insiders, and Mirakl, a Paris-based supplier of software for managing online marketplaces.
Felix Capital sold one of its investments, Olapic, to Monotype last year for $130 million.
It is also backing Goop to help it expand into online commerce, an expansion move that is helping it close the gap with rivals such as far larger lifestyle site MarthaStewart.com.
Felix relies on a board of a dozen advisors made up of entrepreneurs from the retail and media industries, with whom it co-invests.
Those advisors include Grita Loebsack, the former chief executive of Gucci’s holding company, Kering SA, David Marcus, vice president of Facebook’s messaging business and Sebastian Picardo, ex-Net-A-Porter chief financial officer.
Jon Kamaluddin, an existing advisor, has joined Felix full-time as operating partner. The former chief financial officer of online retailer ASOS now sits on the board of Farfetch.
(Reporting By Eric Auchard; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)