Agustina Sartori, managing director, Prisma Ventures, is one of our Top 50 Emerging Leaders in corporate venturing for 2024.

Agustina Sartori, managing director, Prisma Ventures

Agustina Sartori holds dual roles – managing director at Prisma Ventures, the CVC arm of beauty retailer Ulta Beauty, as well as senior director of innovation at Ulta Beauty. Sartori “sets the roadmap for Ulta Beauty’s digital experiences and turns those into investment theses”, says Roberto Ayala, an investor with Prisma.

Originally from Uruguay, Sartori studied telematics engineering at Universidad de Montevideo. After working as a programmer, Sartori founded her own company – GlamST in 2012. The startup created augmented reality technology for virtually trying on make-up. Sartori targeted cutting-edge technology at US clients, including Ulta Beauty, which acquired GlamST in 2018.

After the acquisition, Sartori joined the organisation as director of augmented reality in the digital innovation team, progressing to senior director of innovation. Her background as a founder helped when setting up a venture fund. She understood the obstacles faced by startups when interacting with corporations.

“You need buy-in from all leaders in the company if you actually want to make an impact.”

The digital innovation fund, Prisma Ventures, was launched in 2022 with the goal of partnering closely with startups, supporting them with access to Ulta Beauty’s platforms and markets, as well as with capital and data.

The $20m fund invests primarily in seed and series A. “We believe that innovation comes from everywhere,” says Sartori. Partnering with startups can help Ulta Beauty accelerate its four investment themes: AR, VR and the metaverse; AI and personalisation; technology-powered beauty products; and new commerce.

Sartori’s advice to CVC newcomers is to understand that a critical part of the job is to “communicate, explain, evangelise”. The job is about “talking with the business units, executives and teams to learn and understand what areas can be disrupted and walking them through why we are doing this,” she says. “You need buy-in from all leaders in the company if you actually want to make an impact.”

See the full list of Emerging Leaders 2024 here.