Frederic Court is the Founder and an investor at Felix Capital, a London-based VC firm which operates at the intersection of technology and retail, launched in 2015. With over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, Court has been named ‘Investor of the Year’ by ‘Investor All Stars’ in 2012, in association with Advent Venture Partners and again in 2019, in association with Felix Capital. His investment strategy is in line with investments made formerly in Farfetch, Zong, Virtue, Dailymotion and Olapic. Investments with Felix Capital include Farfetch, goop, Moonbug, Travelperk, Deliveroo, VanMof, Mejuri, HungryPanda and others.

What are some of the major challenges and trends that have been impacting the retail industry lately?

Over the last two years, COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the retail industry. Although there have been positive changes which entail technological opportunities, such as the proliferation of online shopping, the convenience of hyper fast deliveries, and the push for innovation in otherwise traditional businesses, there have been major challenges such as the closing of thousands of retail stores during the various lockdowns, a decrease in spending due to decreased travel and tourism, increasing shipping rates, complex return processes, slowing supply chains, and labour shortage due to low staff retention.

The market downturn that started in the last couple of months is forcing retail companies to re-evaluate their short to medium term plans, adjust budgets, and prepare for a market that rewards profitable economics over ‘growth at all costs.’ This market correction is not all bad as it is forcing businesses to pay attention to important metrics that were previously deprioritised.

What keeps you up at night when it comes to some of the major predicaments in the retail industry?

We have been fortunate to work with portfolio companies that have done an outstanding job in overcoming challenges in the retail space and recovering swiftly from store closures due to COVID-19. Retail is kicking in strongly and we are observing well-managed investments come into sustained growth and profitability.

"We stay updated on cultural shifts and emerging consumer necessities that bring technological advancements and opportunities"

Our priority in the next months is to continue to be supportive of our portfolio companies as they navigate the changing market dynamics during their business building, product development and fundraising requirements. We encourage them to take action against inflation and cost pressures by optimising operating costs, finding ways to decrease returns and shipping costs, as well as scaling automation across different parts of the organisation.

Could you tell us about the latest project that you have been working on? What are some of the technological and process elements that you leveraged to make the project successful?

We recently announced closing our fourth funds at $600M, doubling our assets-under-management (AUM) to over $1.2B. With this capital, we get to invest in top companies across Europe and North America at early stages or in the growing stage. We stay updated on cultural shifts and emerging consumer necessities that bring technological advancements and opportunities, with emphasis on sustainability and web3. We could not have achieved this milestone without the support of our LPs, founders and Felix family, including our advisors, who have supported us on this 8-year journey.

What are some of the technological trends that you’re excited for in the future?

We have been investing at the intersection of retail and technology for years and we see great opportunities to disrupt this industry from both the front-end and the back-end of the customer journey. We are especially excited about technologies that are changing the way people discover, shop in, and interact with brands.

We are also excited about the technological potential to streamline supply chain management within retail including inventory management, order tracking, and warehouse robots. The post-checkout experience is full of possibilities for disruption, from refund processes to upselling opportunities to new ways of managing customer support and engagement. The increasing importance of omni-channel models is a great way to establish different points of contact with consumers and diversify the brand experience to drive loyalty and customer obsession. We are focused on the growing imperative to lead a more sustainable life and track the circular economy and purpose-driven brands that are taking priority over legacy brands without transparent supply chains.

We are looking forward to the potential opportunities that web3 and the metaverse will further bring to the retail industry.

How can evolving companies reach you for suggestions to streamline their business?

If you are a bold, mission-driven founder pursuing creative paths — consumer and enterprise alike — to improve industries through technology, contact us on LinkedIn!