Monday 11 December 2017

Draper Esprit relaunches plans for €102m Dublin and London listing

Irish investor Brian Caulfield. Photo: Mark Condren
Irish investor Brian Caulfield. Photo: Mark Condren

Venture capital firm Draper Esprit has relaunched plans for an IPO in London and Dublin.

The company expects to be admitted to trading on June 15 after raising €102m at a price of €3.93 per share.

Its primary listing will be on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London and it will also be listed on the Enterprise Securities Market (ESM) of the Irish Stock Exchange.

A source close to the company said there would be around €30m rolled over from existing investors on top of the €102m raised from the IPO.

It expects to have a market capitalisation of around €159m on admission.

In Ireland Draper Esprit is headed up by well-known investor Brian Caulfield.

The company, focused on fast-growing tech businesses in the UK and Ireland, has invested in firms including chipmaker Movidius and software company Datahug.

It had explored an IPO prior to Christmas but shelved the plans amid turbulence in the markets.

The flotation will provide retail investors with the chance to indirectly invest in early stage high-tech firms.

In documents filed to the Irish Stock Exchange Draper Esprit said it would will seek exposure to early stage companies “which combine technology and service provision, are able to generate strong margins through significant intellectual property or strong barriers to entry and are scalable and require relatively modest capital investment”.

“The group will primarily seek exposure to developing companies in, but not limited to, the following sectors of the digital economy: consumer technology, enterprise technology, hardware and healthcare,” it added.

“Investments are expected to be mainly in the form of equity, although investments may be made by way of debt, convertible securities or investments in specific projects.”

The listed company’s chief executive will be its current boss and founder Simon Cook and its chair will be Karen Slatford.

A source close to Draper Esprit said floating on the stock market would make it easier for the company to support firms over the longer term.

The source said unlisted venture capitalists sometimes come under pressure to rack up exits from investments in order to help raise fresh funds from what are known as ‘Limited Partners’ (LPs) who invest in venture capital funds.

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