A failed attempt to build a textile market at the height of the dotcom boom taught Felix Capital’s Frederic Court an important lesson in the power of habits. “Consumers can change their lifestyle quickly, but in a work environment it takes a lot longer,” says Court, who has now landed a spot on the Midas List Europe thanks to his investments in consumer-focused brands. consumer like Moonbug, Mejuri and Farfetch.
The London-based investor that bills itself as the venture capital fund for the “creative class” has now raised a new round of $600 million, doubling its assets under management to $1.2 billion. Court, founder and managing partner of Felix Capital, says the fund will stick to its “focused” goal of making up to 25 investments in European and US startups that are tapping into changing consumer behavior.
“At Felix, we started talking about the emergence of a more digital lifestyle early on and it’s a trend that’s only accelerated,” Court says. “We want to support members of the creative class who will come up with new brands that will resonate with a certain audience or sub-community.”
Felix’s boutique approach to venture investing has proven successful with early investments in the fashion market: Farfetch, food delivery app Deliveroo and Peloton. The three companies, all of which are now publicly traded, have, like many tech stocks, seen stock prices crash after pandemic-era spikes.
The consumer-centric brands favored by Felix also face serious headwinds from inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, but Court still sees an opportunity. “During Covid, there were a few months where people were petrified, but what happened? People have adapted. As they adapted, it created new opportunities,” says Court, adding that he led the first luxury-focused investment in Farfetch during the depths of the financial crisis in 2010.
Felix also recently celebrated a private exit with the sale of children’s entertainment startup Moonbug to private equity group Blackstone for $3 billion in November 2021. The fund had invested “double-digit millions” before the launch in the company that owns the hit YouTube channels Cocomelon and Blippi, Court said. Felix has also supported Goop, actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand.
“At the time Frédéric created his first fund, very few funds in Europe understood consumer power,” says Rene Rechtman, CEO of Moonbug. “That changed with massive American platforms dominating industries, but Frederic was definitely at the forefront of that.”
Felix and Court are perhaps best known for their investments in the fashion industry, but the fund picks strong brands across a range of industries including food, mobility, healthcare and e-commerce software based on emerging “digital lifestyle” themes. Court says Web3 and sustainability startups, like existing investments in NFT-based fantasy sports game Sorare and Oatly, which went public in May 2021 with a $10 billion valuation, would be important themes for the new fund. .
“We’re at a scale where we can choose our battles and have a positive impact,” Court says. “I often say that the way we do venture capital is that the money-making part is a by-product of supporting distinctive, attractive, and authentic businesses.”
Court founded Felix Capital in 2015 after working for nearly two decades at Advent Venture Partners, where he led investments in Dailymotion, Zong and Ubiquisys. The French investor began his career at the investment bank Lazard before co-founding an ephemeral textile marketplace startup. “We were able to see the magnitude of the change, but a lot of those changes took a decade or two decades,” Court says.
Former PayPal and Meta director David Marcus worked with Court on Zong, which he founded, and his new crypto company Lightspark. “He’s always been very in tune with the brands of the future and the trends that will become mainstream over time,” says Marcus, who oversaw Facebook Messenger and Meta’s Libra cryptocurrency project. “He was not only a great investor and board member, but he was my advisor when we pivoted the business and eventually sold it to Paypal.”
The fund also recruited María Auersperg de Lera, who previously worked at Mosaic Ventures and Balderton Capital, and Sophie Luck, formerly of the venture capital arm of German media group Hubert Burda, as investors. Felix has also bolstered his advisory team with Maria Raga, CEO of Depop, GoFundMe CMO Musa Tariq and Branko Milutinović, founder and CEO of gaming app developer Nordeus.