Private equity may be one of the worst financial services sectors for promoting gender diversity, but today has seen the launch of the first female-founded specialist firm.
Vaultier7, led by dealmakers Montse Suarez and Anna Sweeting, will focus on the beauty and personal care, health and wellness and lifestyle sectors.
They have already launched a £65m fund, City A.M. understands, backed by the wealthy Puig family who own the eponymous Spanish fashion and fragrance powerhouse. It aims to make growth investments in the UK and Europe.
“Given the mismatch between what the market is currently offering and what the new consumers are looking for, there is significant opportunity ahead for contenders and we believe the time is now to provide the right financing environment for these companies to thrive,” said Sweeting.
City A.M. understands the firm will make its first investments within weeks and hopes to have three to four under its belt by the end of the year.
V7 is looking to take advantage of market movements such as digital transformation, demographic changes and shifting “psychographics”.
E-commerce is outpacing traditional high-street shopping, while communication channels such as social media now have an effect on buying decisions.
Meanwhile women are holding increased purchasing power in households, and millennials are often interested in features such as social or environmental consciousness in the brands they buy.
V7 adds that purchasing is “increasingly orientated around lifestyle choices, backed by the desire to live in a healthy, holistic and proactive way”.
The firm will invest in companies with revenues of between £3m and £15m, providing a growth capital investment of between £2m and £10m.
Sweeting has more than 12 years' experience in business development, financial advisory and investment management in the consumer and capital markets.
She founded investment firm Sloane Point Partners in 2015, focusing on the branded consumer marketplace, and is continuing that vision with V7.
After training as a chartered accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sweeting became chief finance officer for emerging markets investment bank Exotix, served on the board of hedge fund Arunvill Capital and joined luxury brand Linley as chief executive.
She is also on the executive committee of the British Fashion Council's Fashion Trust.
Suarez was most recently an investment director at B&B Investment Partners, before which she was in the European private equity team of Arcapita.
Beginning her career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, Suarez has also served as a board member of Aromatherapy Associates, the Refinery, PhD Nutrition and the Protein Works.