A New Fund Called Iris Will Back Brands That Foster Health, Happiness

·3 min read

LONDON — Investor Montse Suarez spotted a gap in the market and is looking to fill it with a fund that plans to back consumer brands and tech companies that support “healthier, happier and more convenient lives.”

Suarez has launched Iris Ventures, the investment adviser of Iris Fund I, a thematic fund targeting European and U.S. high-growth customer-centric brands and tech-enabled companies across sectors including health, wellness, family, lifestyle, beauty, nutrition, education, daily tech and modern commerce.

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The aim is to invest in “the next generation” of brands that are “excelling in the intersection of community, branding, innovation and technology,” and to fill a gap in early-stage growth.

Iris bills itself as “a new investment avenue for passionate, authentic, and purpose-driven founders who have an intimate understanding of the modern consumer — whomever that consumer may be.”

Iris, which is based in Barcelona, wants to invest in companies that fall between seed-stage generalist venture capital funds and late growth, buy-out consumer funds. According to Suarez, these companies often struggle to find “the right investment partner with the right brand-building, operational and investment experience.”

Inés Uers and Montse Suarez of Iris, a new fund based in Barcelona.
Inés Uers and Montse Suarez of Iris, a new fund based in Barcelona.

Iris’ aim is to build a diverse, curated portfolio of 10 to 15 “world-class modern consumer brands,” and will be writing initial checks of up to 10 million euros. Iris has a pipeline of planned investments and intends to announce its first ones in early 2022.

Suarez, whose title is founder and managing partner at Iris Ventures, said founder-entrepreneurs operating at the intersection of community, branding, innovation and technology “shouldn’t have to compromise between a generalist tech fund and a local consumer fund.”

She believes there is a clear gap in the market, “especially in Europe, and we are here to fill it in, with capital and expertise. Ultimately, we are backing crowd-pleasing brands that enhance the lives of modern consumers,” across the generations.

Inés Ures, partner at Iris Ventures, believes there is “a generation of culturally relevant brands that put the customer and their communities first, and leverage technology, data and marketing to reach and engage them. We understand inherently the blend of ingredients needed to build future global champions.”

Iris has teamed with the Spanish management company Altamar Private Equity, part of the Altamar CAM Partners group, and has reached the first close of its 100 million euros target from a broad base of backers, including blue chip family offices, high profile investors and founders with a prior track record in the space.

Altamar CAM Partners S.L., is an independent private markets asset manager in Europe, investing globally in private equity, venture, real estate, infrastructure and private credit, providing investment solutions to institutions, family offices and private individuals.

It will manage the fund through its Spanish management company Altamar Private Equity.

Suarez has more than 20 years of investing experience: She previously launched Walgreens Boots Alliance’s corporate venture fund, and co-founded London-based fund Vaultier7, which she continues to manage.

She spent the first part of her career at Morgan Stanley advising on mergers and acquisitions and capital markets for retail, consumer, tech and luxury goods companies.

As reported, Vaultier7’s aim is to invest in “exceptional founders behind modern consumer brands.” It has taken stakes in companies including Vestiaire Collective, Little Spoon, Gisou, Axel Arigato, 111Skin and Aromatherapy Associates.

Ures joins from Deliveroo where she was global chief marketing officer and has experience in scaling global consumer-tech companies. She was also chief customer officer at Treatwell, the pan-European hair and beauty marketplace.

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