Forward Consumer Partners closes debut fund on $425m

Founder and managing partner Matt Leeds left his role as partner at L Catterton in 2022 to establish FCP, which raised the first-time fund within six months.

Forward Consumer Partners closed its debut Forward Fund I on its $425 million hard-cap, exceeding its $350 million target.

The vehicle was launched in June 2023 and closed oversubscribed six months later in December last year.

Connecticut-based FCP was founded in 2023 by managing partner Matt Leeds, who left his role as partner at L Catterton in 2022. The private equity firm’s team is comprised of executives who have previously held positions at KKR, Goldman Sachs, Endeavor and McKinsey, among others.

Forward Fund I will make majority equity investments of $25 million to $100 million in lower mid-market consumer brands and will seek to acquire five to seven assets. The vehicle has a 20 percent net IRR target.

The strategy is also able to execute larger transactions through its “substantial co-invest network,” said a statement from the firm. FCP also operates Fast Forward, which is a strategy that incubates consumer brands from inception.

“Consumer spending provides a long-term stable backdrop, with a 6 percent CAGR for more than 50 years,” a source familiar with the strategy told Agri Investor.

“Within this sector, there is clear whitespace for control-style investing within enduring but smaller-scale brands. The leaders in consumer investing have scaled up, leaving a clear opportunity for a branded consumer focus within this market.”

FCP will seek out brands that build on long-term consumer trends and “have high loyalty or purchase frequency that has been proven out over years or decades,” added the source.

Food and beverage is one of the firm’s core focus areas and will also pursue investments in other “habit-driven categories” such as personal care, consumer health, pet care, beverage alcohol, and home care.

“The goal is to build strong businesses with multiple exit options,” added Agri Investor’s source. “That said, the most fertile exit opportunities will exist within the portfolios of strategic acquirors. These strategics have been very successful at acquiring strong and growing consumer brands and being able to plug them into their sales, marketing and distribution strategies.”