Lyra Ventures Launches Global Fashion-Tech Fund

Lyra Ventures Launches Global Fashion-Tech Fund

March 30, 2020

Venture Capital firm Lyra Ventures announces new global fashion-tech fund with investment from Japanese conglomerate, TSI Holdings Co Ltd.

Fashion-tech VC Lyra Ventures launches its second fund with investment from TSI Holdings, one of Japan’s largest fashion conglomerates. This is Lyra Ventures’ latest investment following its foray into US retail platform, Neighborhood Goods.

Commenting on the new fund, Lyra Ventures General Partner Reina Nakamura says they are proud to welcome TSI Holdings as a key investor into the new fund.

“We believe there is strong alignment between Lyra Ventures’ fashion-tech expertise and TSI’s deep experience and well-established fashion industry footprint. Together, we are excited to support high-growth ventures with distinctive technologies and business models that are transforming the fashion industry at a global scale,” says Nakamura.

According to Nakamura, the investment from TSI Holdings complements Lyra Ventures’ existing partnership with ZOZO Co. Ltd, Japan’s largest fashion ecommerce operator. The new fund allows Lyra Ventures to focus exclusively on global opportunities.  Nakamura claims the experience and international operating expertise of Lyra Ventures’ team and advisors provides a unique strategic platform for companies that are ready to expand to Japan and Southeast Asia.

Nakamura says the fashion and retail industry is undergoing rapid and unprecedented change, resulting in urgent demand for innovation. With significant shifts in consumer behavior and as established operating models face cost and relevancy pressures, the industry is responding by developing new retail structures, investing in digital platforms, AI-supported analytics, and processing technologies, and prioritizing sustainability and materials innovation. Accordingly, Nakamura says Lyra Ventures’ investment focus is broadly defined, enabling investment in pioneering companies across the fashion value chain.

Discussing Lyra Venture’s investment into US-based Neighborhood Goods, its Co-Founder and CEO Matt Alexander says the partnership will act as a bridge between US and Asian markets.

“As a company, it’s our responsibility to serve as a discovery and delivery mechanism for brands and consumers alike. Listening to our brands, we continue to hear a lot of excitement about Asian expansion, but there’s a core recognition that it’s incredibly difficult to pursue. At the same time, we often hear about demand in Asian markets for some of these high-visibility American and European brands. Partnering with Lyra allows us to start getting a closer sense of what our role might look like in bridging the gap between those consumers and brands in Asia. We’re incredibly grateful for their partnership,” says Alexander.

Another earlier investment of Lyra Ventures include Syte AI — a visual AI technology provider whose clients include Farfetch, Marks & Spencer, Boohoo, and ZOZO, and UK-based customer engagement SaaS solution, Mercaux.

Syte AI CEO Ofer Fryman discusses how their partnership also helped its Asian expansion.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Lyra Ventures as our investor. They’ve introduced us to many customers in the Asia region – including our largest client – and have helped us grow revenues in a significant way… which has been invaluable in helping us cement product-market fit,” says Fryman.

(Ed. Lyra Ventures claims to be an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in companies which reinvent the business of fashion and retail. The fund is supported by investors such as ZOZO Co, Ltd, which is Japan’s largest fashion ecommerce operator, and TSI Holdings, one of Japan’s largest fashion conglomerates.)

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