Norwest Venture Partners — an investor in beauty and other consumer sectors — has closed a $1.5 billion fund.
The fund, Norwest Venture Partners XIV LP, is the firm’s largest to date, and will invest in “disruptive and market-leading companies from seed to late-stage across consumer, enterprise and healthcare sectors,” the company said. Norwest’s previous fund closed in January 2016 with $1.2 billion. Since then, the firm has made 80 investments.
That means the fund can write seed checks of around $250,000 to larger, growth-equity checks of $150 million, according to Norwest general partner Sonya Brown. Norwest is an active investor in the beauty space, recently exiting professional skin-care brand PCA Skin via sale to Colgate-Palmolive. The firm also backs at-home hair-color business Madison Reed, and accessories brand Kendra Scott.
“Beauty will continue to be an area we spend time in, but we’ll be broader than just beauty,” Brown said. “We’ll really focus on high-growth brands and entrepreneurs that we can partner with to build big companies.”
Norwest’s structure — the firm has a venture side, a growth-equity side and sector-focused teams on each of those sides — allow for expertise from venture investments to flow into the larger companies, Brown noted.
“We’re spending a lot of time around direct-to-consumer brands today in the apparel space and more broadly speaking — in personal care, as well,” Brown said. “We’re definitely spending time in apparel and jewelry and other fashion areas, more on the direct-to-consumer side.”
In beauty, Norwest will look to invest in brands as well as other types of service providers, she said. “We’ve looked at companies that are providing innovative packaging in the beauty industry, companies that are providing shipping-related resources for [consumer packaged goods] products that are going direct-to-consumer,” Brown said.
Norwest’s fund close comes at the same time as several promotions at the firm. Jon Kossow, who focuses on multiple sectors, has been promoted from general partner to managing partner, while Lisa Wu has been promoted to partner on the firm’s venture capital team, focusing on digital deals. Wu sourced Norwest’s Jet.com investment, before the company was acquired by Wal-Mart for $3.3 billion, as well as Norwest’s investment in Ritual, a women’s vitamin business.
Before Norwest, Wu worked as part of Amazon.com’s worldwide corporate development team, evaluating acquisition targets and investments for Amazon. Prior to Amazon she was with Bessemer Venture Partners, focusing on consumer and software-as-a-service deals.