As more money continues to be poured into startups, we’re starting to see a growing number of venture capital firms and funds emerge that are increasingly focused on specific pieces of the pie, rather than general swipes across the board. One of these — Felix Capital — today announced that it has raised an oversubscribed $150 million fund to continue betting hard on tech startups built by the creative class. For Felix, that mainly means fashion and lifestyle businesses that are based on digital platforms, along with the plethora of tech startups out there that are building tools to make those more interesting and efficient.
Felix may not be a household name like Index, Accel or NEA — prolific firms that have invested in a long list of startups across a variety of categories. Instead, it’s banked on the track record of one of its founders, Frederic Court, considered one of the more successful VCs in Europe, and its particular focus.
The company’s portfolio includes the likes of Farfetch, the marketplace that links up high end brands and boutiques selling those brands and provides a place online to browse and buy from all of them. The company recently raised a whopping $397 million investment from China’s JD.com, and we understand from sources close to the startup that it is now valued at around $2.2 billion — a figure that has not been reported up to now.
This is Felix’s second fund, after the firm first launched in 2015 with a $120 million fund.
The fact that this fund could have had commitments of $200 million, according to Court, not only points to the fact that Felix could raise again soon if it wanted, but that there is a clear appetite out there among LPs to put money into more focused venture efforts led by people with strong track records.
“If someone had told me in 2014 when I decided to start a new fund that we would be here… well, most told me it was impossible,” Court said in an interview at Felix’s offices in Soho. “We have something unique here, though. We provide a more thematic point of view, and we are based in Europe. I did this because I could see the need for VC firms that are not just generalists but have an area of focus.”
Court told TechCrunch that the idea will be to double down on the kinds of companies that Felix has invested in to-date.
In addition to Farfetch — which is somewhat the jewel in the company’s crown — there is media/fe-commerce site Goop, of Gwyneth Paltrow and jade egg infamy; The Business of Fashion, a much respected fashion news site; Deliveroo (because everyone has to eat and this delivery service meets that demand stylishly); retail analytics firm Yoobic; and photography site Olapic, acquired by Monotype for $130 million; among many others.
Raising Felix’s most recent fund comes at an interesting time in the world of venture capital and startups. While tech continues to pervade all parts of our lives, investing activities overall are continuing to grow, we’ve seen a lot of evidence that female founded startups remain very much in the minority — just 17 percent at the moment, according to CrunchBase research. On top of this recent revelations about inappropriate activity on the part of investors toward would-be female founders and other women in the ecosystem has shed a light on how there remains a lot of work to do to make the VC world a more equitable environment.
In that context, Felix is an interesting entity: when it launched, the firm, as I noted at the time, had no female partners; and yet one of its key focuses — fashion — is an industry that has a disproportionate number of female entrepreneurs, and of course female customers.
Felix has over time added a lot of women to its staff, it should be noted; and overall, its presence represents a big opportunity to help change the ratio.