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Draper Esprit leads £64m funding of fintech group

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Potential: Staff at tech firm Thought Machine, which Draper Esprit has invested in

Potential: Staff at tech firm Thought Machine, which Draper Esprit has invested in

Potential: Staff at tech firm Thought Machine, which Draper Esprit has invested in

Dublin-listed venture capital company Draper Esprit has invested £26.5m (€31m) in banking technology platform Thought Machine.

The firm aims to address the banking sector's dependence on legacy IT infrastructure through more flexible cloud-based solutions.

It works with a range of financial institutions, including Standard Chartered and Lloyds Bank, and employs more than 300 people from its headquarters in London.

Draper Esprit led the Series B funding round, which had participation from existing investors IQ Capital, Backed and Playfair Capital.

A total of £63.8m was raised in the round.

The funding will be used to drive Thought Machine's expansion into Asia and North America, alongside continued investment in its core technology.

It is anticipated that Thought Machine will become a core holding of Draper Esprit.

The group has also participated in a $30m funding round for Evonetix, a synthetic biology company.

The round was led by Foresite Capital.

Evonetix will use the funding to accelerate internal development.

Other Draper Esprit portfolio companies including IT business Graphcore and the popular fintech firm Revolut have also recently raised funds.

Following these rounds, it is anticipated that the fair value uplift on Draper's holdings will be around £7.5m.

Martin Davis, CEO of Draper Esprit, said: "Our participation in the funding rounds of Thought Machine and Evonetix… and the valuation uplifts from the Graphcore and Revolut fundraises demonstrate the value in our portfolio and its continued commercial momentum."

He added: "Our strength is in the application of our patient capital model and expertise to support technologies which are revolutionising industries as diverse as banking and healthcare."

With a focus on technology, Draper Esprit invests between £2m and £50m within businesses.

On average, it makes 10 to 20 new investments a year, including follow-on investments.

It is headed by Mr Davis, who last year joined the group from investment management business Kames Capital.

Prior to that, the chief executive of Draper Esprit was Simon Cook.

He now holds the position of chief investment officer at the business.

Irish Independent