Willow Growth Partners, an early-stage capital firm, closed its inaugural fund of $28 million to invest in emerging consumer brands and supporting technologies.
WHO: Founded by Managing Partner Deborah Benton and General Partner Amanda Schutzbank, Willow Growth Partners brings a new approach to investing in early-stage consumer brands in beauty, health and wellness, apparel and accessories, and food and beverage, as well as the supporting technologies that power these companies. Taking the best of the traditional VC model and PE model, Willow invests at the first institutional stage, provides extensive hands-on support, and advises towards high-integrity growth to make companies attractive for later-stage growth investment or acquisition. The firm looks for values-driven consumer brands that have a reasonable near-term path to profitability with strong underlying unit economics and customer retention.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "From my time as an operator and seed investor, I recognized there was a real need for a fund that provides the right type of capital to early-stage consumer brands," said Deborah Benton, founder and Managing Partner, Willow Growth Partners. "Tech venture capital funds tend to overvalue and over-capitalize brands, pushing them to achieve often unrealistic $1 billion exits, while private equity funds prefer profitable later-stage companies and often seek control. Willow looks to change this dynamic by investing right-sized capital at rational valuations, setting them up for success from the beginning."
We do not invest through a specific gender or diversity lens; we simply back the best and strongest founders," said Schutzbank. "As two female GPs, we are highly cognizant of building a platform that welcomes and encourages all founders from diverse backgrounds that understand their consumers' needs.
- Willow Growth Partners closed its inaugural fund of $28 million.
- The firm has invested in companies such as international shipping platform FlavorCloud, baby personal care company Coterie, and skincare brand Bubble.
- 75 percent of Willow's investments have female or minority founders.
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