Designers with businesses that need some cash and guidance to get to the next level have a new place to turn — Back to the Future Ventures.
The new fund, which is based in New York, has its eye on small and midsized consumer brands, retailers and related technology companies.
David Pascual, who along with Wall Street veteran Faye Landes founded the fund, said they’re looking to make three or four deals a year, ranging from an investments of $1 million to $15 million. Landes is familiar with the retail space, having spent more than 20 years as a retail and consumer stock analyst at Citigroup, Sanford C. Bernstein and Co. and Ziff Brothers Investments.
Pascual — an expert on omnichannel retailing who has a degree in telecommunications engineering and most recently worked at The Digital Marvels — said smaller designers face an array of threats in the market. They have trouble accessing capital, affording the talent they need and effectively leveraging new distribution channels and technologies.
Back to the Future’s plan is find fast-growing companies going through some temporary challenge in the market and provide the money and expertise they need to get them to the next step, with an eye toward exiting at least part of the investment in two to three years.
“There are a ton of companies that are viable businesses but have a challenge,” Pascual said. “They don’t know how to go from three stores to 30. We see this as an opportunity.”
Back to the Future has lined up advisers, many of whom have C-level experience, to help portfolio companies grow, without the additional charges that sometimes come with such help.
“It’s as hands-on as it gets,” Pascual said. “We bring the talent until they can afford it by themselves.”
Back to the Future joins a growing list of investors that want to invest in smaller fashion companies. Also knocking on doors in the space are Gary Wassner’s InterLuxe, which is backed by Lee Equity and has a stake in Jason Wu and others, and Glen Senk’s Front Row Partners, which is backed by Berkshire Partners.