Galeries Lafayette, French Tycoon Back $120 Million Tech Fund

Felix Capital Partners, a London-based venture-capital firm, raised $120 million to invest in technology startups that tap into European luxury, beauty and design.

Investors include Unilever NV, luxury retail group Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and Xavier Niel, the French billionaire who founded phone carrier Iliad SA, said Frederic Court, Felix’s founder. Most of the funds came from unidentified institutional investors.

“Our lifestyles are changing, powered by technology and more specifically by mobile technology,” Court said in an interview. “We are looking for the entrepreneurs who are using those tools to build a new consumer proposition especially in areas where Europe has an edge.”

Felix will typically invest $2 million to $5 million per funding round, though spending on an investment could reach $10 million, Court said. The company has already agreed to fund Business of Fashion, an industry news site, and online fashion curators Farfetch and RAD.

Still, the investor is set to face competition. Demand for technology assets and easily available financing are pushing up the number of acquisitions and initial public offerings for companies in the industry globally. While European businesses aren’t as expensive as American peers, prices are rising as venture-capital firms are competing to invest in the same promising startups, Court said.

“We do expect that most of the deals we do will be competitive,” Court said. “If you’re an investor and you’re looking for organic growth, technology is the place to look.”

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