M&S makes its first venture capital investment in 20 years
// M&S makes its first venture capital investment in two decades
// The retailer has invested more than £ 20million in the True tech fund
Marks & Spencer announced its first venture capital investment in 20 years to strengthen its digital capabilities.
The retailer has invested more than £ 20million in the technology fund True, which manages private equity type vehicles.
M&S has worked with True since 2018, but this is the first time that it has made a significant financial commitment.
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“The partnership had already led to successful business commitments such as the introduction of the children’s clothing brand Frugi on the retailer’s website,” said M&S CFO Eoin Tonge.
“But we’re starting to think about the next areas of growth for us, things that might be relevant in five years or more.”
Tonge added that while the main goal of the company was to ensure quick access to new technology and thinking, she also expected a financial return on her commitment.
True takes stakes in digitally driven companies that capitalize on changes in consumer behavior, such as the growth of e-commerce or the growing awareness of sustainability.
It manages around £ 600million, with investments such as the workplace wellness app Unmind, the staff list system Rotaready and online furniture retailer Cotswold.
Its latest fund will seek to raise around £ 50million, with M&S acting as lead investor.
Since installing a new management team led by M&S President Archie Norman, the company has invested heavily in technology and has used the pandemic to accelerate that process.
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