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True Beauty Ventures Raises $42M Debut Fund

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True Beauty Ventures is led by Rich Gersten and Cristina Nuñez, who pair knowledge of beauty and investing.

True Beauty Ventures has raised a debut fund of more than $42 million, surpassing its initial target of $30 million. Support came from beauty founders and executives, financial institutions, and family offices.

True Beauty is a beauty- and wellness-dedicated fund focused on more equitable access to capital led by Rich Gersten (formerly of Tengram Capital, L Catterton and North Castle Partners) and Cristina Nuñez (formerly of Tengram Capital, L Catterton, Clark’s Botanicals and Laura Geller Beauty). Gersten was recently interviewed by Nancy Trent for Global Cosmetic Industryoutlining a future defined by a convergence of beauty and wellness.

The organization pursues $1-5 million investments in beauty, wellness and personal care brands, from seed to series C. 

True Beauty has made six investments to date: AQUIS and K18 Hair, Kinship, Feals, Crown Affair, maude, and a soon to be announced clean makeup brand. 

The organization's board comprises Elana Drell Szyfer, CEO of RéVive Skincare; Emily Dougherty, former editor-in-chief of NewBeauty; Kelly St. John, CEO and founder of KSJ Collective; Janna Ronert, founder and chairwoman of IMAGE skincare; Joel Palix, founder of Palix Unlimited; and John Elmer CFO and COO, RéVive Skincare.

“We launched True Beauty to leverage our unique beauty-focused investing and operating experience and the extensive beauty ecosystem I had built over many years," said Gersten, following the debut fund announcement. "That is our unfair advantage. We connect with our founders on a deeper level because we truly understand their businesses and can help accelerate growth, while avoiding costly mistakes along the way.”

“True Beauty fundamentally understands both the art and the science to building impactful, world-changing brands," said Éva Goicochea, founder and CEO of maude, which has raised funding from True Beauty, Dakota Johnson and others. "Cristina and Rich’s thoughtful approach and deep expertise in beauty and personal care make them additive and unparalleled partners throughout the journey of building the business and maude is proud to have them leading the way with us.”

“Together Rich and Cristina bring a wealth of knowledge and know-how, they have unique insights and actively roll up their sleeves to help execute on critical path objectives,” said Britta Cox, co-founder of AQUIS and K18.

“Rich and Cristina make for an exceptional beauty investing combo. Their belief in purpose-led businesses and in unique insights that challenge the status quo—besides a continued focus on founders’ strength versus weakness—makes them an ideal partner particularly for ego-free founders driven by impact and outcomes,” said Suveen Sahib, co-founder of AQUIS and K18.

“As a Latinx female co-founder and general partner, I am part of the 2.4% of U.S.-based VC founding partners who are women, a staggering statistic reported by women in VC,” said Nuñez. “We need people on both sides of the table, the investment decision makers and the brand founders, to reflect the markets they serve. To date, I am proud that our firm is majority female and over 80% of our current partner brands have women or minority founders.”

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