Sunday 22 July 2018

Draper Esprit backs seed funds to counter Brexit effects

Brian Caulfield, managing director, Draper Esprit, rings the bell at the IPO in Dublin, watched by Orla O’Gorman, head of equity at the Irish Stock Exchange
Brian Caulfield, managing director, Draper Esprit, rings the bell at the IPO in Dublin, watched by Orla O’Gorman, head of equity at the Irish Stock Exchange
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Dublin- and London-listed venture-capital investor Draper Esprit has said it will target up to £75m (€85m) of investment in seed funds across Europe over five years.

The firm said this included commitments to invest in the latest funds of Seedcamp and Episode1 Ventures - two UK seed-fund platforms - and has backed crowdfunding companies Crowdcube and Seedrs.

Last year, Draper Esprit raised €102m from investors in a stock market flotation and is positioning itself as a fund of funds venture capital house.

Its backers include the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (Isif), UK-based investment managers Woodford Investment Management and Baillie Gifford, and China Huarong International Holdings.

Its latest commitment is in addition to Draper Esprit's strategy to invest up to £100m a year in technology businesses at series A, B, and C+ rounds.

"By partnering with the best seed funds, we can help them scale up their series A and B funding rounds more quickly, which in turn will accelerate growth for the most ambitious entrepreneurs," CEO Simon Cook said.

He linked the decision to support UK funds to the fall-out from Brexit.

"Post-Brexit, it is imperative that UK investors continue to have access to the best early-stage investment opportunities. Having established itself as a leading hub for technology entrepreneurs from all over the world, the UK needs to keep supporting all stages of venture funding."

Last week, Brian Caulfield, who heads Draper Esprit's Irish arm, gave a cautious welcome to the to the new KEEP scheme for share-based remuneration scheme for SMEs, as announced in Budget 2018.

Irish Independent

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