The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order by company): Julie Bercovy, LVMH
France-based luxury goods producer LVMH last year established a corporate venturing fund called LVMH Luxury Ventures that will invest in early-stage luxury consumer startups.
The firm has provided LVMH Luxury Ventures with €50m ($54m) of capital, and it will be led by Julie Bercovy, LVMH’s deputy head of mergers and acquisitions for the past dozen years after nearly two as an analyst at Lazard. Her deals included acquisition of brands like Hublot or Bulgari for LVMH.
Bercovy describes her unit thus: “With a view to creating value, LVMH Luxury Ventures will provide equity financing to promising brands across the full spectrum of the luxury universe (leather goods, watch and jewelry, other accessories, fashion, perfumes and cosmetics, fine food, design).
“Beyond financial support, LVMH Luxury Ventures will assist (through board representation) the talented management team of these up-and-coming brands in defining their strategic vision and development plans thanks to the sum of experiences and economic intelligence of the Group.”
She told Decideurs magazine: “I wanted to be able to offer my experience in the service of promising new brands and business models still unexplored by the group. It is in this perspective that I presented, first to Jean-Jacques Guiony (CFO of the group), then to [chairman and CEO] Bernard Arnault, this project of minority investments in small companies (from €3m to €20m of turnover) with high potential.
“We can say that our activity remains marginal for a group that represents more than €100bn in market capitalisation and generates nearly €40bn in sales, but that would only see part of the picture. We must not systematically reason within the bounds of the group, otherwise every individual initiative seems derisory and not very contributive. The ambition of this new investment activity is to create several tens of millions of euros of value for the group, reported on the scale of a micro-team.
“We must therefore speak of a product of which we are proud and whose differentiation leaves no room for doubt. For example, some people might object that streetwear has nothing to do with the world of luxury, but for LVMH, if streetwear has a strong personality and seeks a form of excellence (quality and creativity for example), that interests us. Another example, a startup that breaks the value chain in the world of beauty, perfumes or accessories is also interesting for its innovative business model.”
The fund will invest €2m and €10m in each one. Its first deals include a “partnership” (financial details of the transaction were not disclosed) with US-based trainers store Stadium Goods.
For the uninitiated, WWD describes Stadium Goods as being founded in 2015 by Jed Stiller and John McPheters as “a premium sneaker plus streetwear marketplace selling only the most sought after footwear, apparel and other hard-to-find items on behalf of our sellers”. Stadium Goods had raised $5.6m before LVMH Luxury Ventures entered.
The move comes roughly a year after LVMH joined private equity firm Catterton and Groupe Arnault, the family holding company of LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault, to combine their private equity holdings into a single entity dubbed L Catterton.
LVMH has not so far been a major investor in early-stage companies but it does hold stakes in US-based luxury fashion retailer Moda Operandi and online fashion industry news portal The Business of Fashion.