Friday 25 May 2018

Draper Esprit targets seed funds with strategy to invest significantly

Simon Cook
Simon Cook
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Dublin-listed Draper Esprit has announced a strategy to target up to £75m (€85m) of investment in seed funds across Europe over a five-year period.

The venture capital firm has committed to invest in the latest funds of both Seedcamp and Episode1 Ventures - two UK seed fund platforms - while the company is already an investors in crowdfunding companies Crowdcube and Seedrs.

The move complements Draper Esprit's strategy to invest up to £100m a year in technology businesses at series A, B, and C+ rounds across the group's funds, with investment from the company's balance sheet representing approximately £60m per year.

Describing the company’s mission as being to "democratise the venture capital model," Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit, said that the company's plan was to create a significant fund of funds business, which will target investment in 10 to 20 seed funds, angel networks and early stage investment platforms over the coming years.

"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," Mr Cook said.

Meanwhile Simon Murdoch, managing partner of Episode 1, said that the company was "excited" to be working with Draper Esprit again.

"As a leading seed fund our role is to find and accelerate UK start-ups helping them to become the sort of rapidly growing businesses that Draper Esprit want to invest in and grow to global success stories," Mr Murdoch said.

In early 2016 the Draper Esprit raised €102m from its stock market flotation in Dublin and London.

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

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