LONDON — Two seasoned investors plan to put their money behind beauty, health and wellness businesses via a new fund called Vaultier7, the U.K.’s first female-led specialist investment fund.
Montse Suarez and Anna Sweeting, who are backed by investors including the Puig family, are aiming to support what they call “challenger brands” in the personal-care and lifestyle space, brands they feel are neglected by the bigger investment houses.
The founders said they believe the pace of innovation among early stage, branded consumer companies “has not yet been matched by the necessary levels of growth capital,” particularly in the U.K. and Europe. They’re aiming to fill that niche.
V7 said it plans to partner with newcomer companies that have a “distinctive attitude” and a “digitally shrewd strategy underpinned with a compelling product offering.” The two investors said they plan to have invested in at least four companies by the end of the year.
Their aim is to invest in companies with revenues of between 3 million pounds and 15 million pounds, providing growth capital between 2 million pounds and 10 million pounds, with a focus on the U.K. and Europe. They said they want to partner with small companies after the angel investor and venture capital stage, and before midsized private equity players are ready to invest.
The founders believe they can help refine the existing strengths of entrepreneurs, and enable them to scale and to achieve sustainable growth.
Sweeting, cofounder and managing partner, said that “given the mismatch between what the market is currently offering and what the new consumers are looking for, there is significant opportunity ahead for contenders. We have a unique perspective that allows us to penetrate the market noise to identify trailblazing propositions, and we are excited about sharing insights to the benefit of our portfolio companies and their consumers.”
She said during an interview that V7 can advise on building scale, breaking into new geographies, shifting to multichannel and refocusing priorities.
Suarez, cofounder and managing partner, said the companies they want to invest in play an increasingly important role in consumers’ everyday lives, “whether it is in the form of beauty, healthy nutrition or general well-being. Our complementary skill sets, industry network and experience in what drives brands to succeed mean we are perfectly positioned to translate our passion for these sectors into superior financial returns, both for our portfolio companies and investors.”
She said so many of the small companies they are looking to invest in are exciting because they are “grabbing market share” from the bigger players.
Sweeting was a former ceo of Linley and led the company through a sale of the majority shareholding. Prior to that, she served on the executive board of global hedge fund Arunvill Capital and worked in financial roles at Exotix Ltd. and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
She founded an investment firm in early 2015 in response to a gap she saw for investors with hands-on strategic and operational experience within the branded consumer marketplace. The firm provided growth capital and board level expertise to brands across lifestyle, health and wellness and beauty, both in the U.K. and the U.S.
Suarez has a private equity and investment banking background at Morgan Stanley in London, and most recently served as investment director of B&B Investment Partners, a London-based investment fund sponsored by Walgreens Boots Alliance.