Draper Esprit investment activity picked up in second half of year

Venture capital firm invested £162m in new and existing portfolio businesses

Venture capital firm Draper Esprit said investment activity picked up in the second half of its financial year as the company upped its total investment by 40 per cent.

In an update to the market, the company said it invested £96 million (€110.6 million) of its £128 million total investment in the second half of the year, showing a marked increase in pace. In total, Draper invested £162 million in the year ended March 31st, 2021, including £34 million EIS and VCT co-investment.

Draper invested in a number of new portfolio companies, including $12 million in a Series A investment round in quantum computing software specialist Riverlane, and £6 million in GPS technology company FocalPoint.

The venture capital firm also participated in several follow-on funding rounds for existing portfolio companies such as Aiven and Freetrade.

Total realisations for the year were more than £200 million, with £106 million in the first half of the year. In the later months of the financial year, Draper saw a full exit from Decibel through a trade sale to Medallia, and a partial realisation of Trustpilot.

"Over the last few months, we have continued with the application of our strategy of accelerating our capital deployment to invest in high-growth opportunities in our existing portfolio and to secure exciting new investment opportunities," said Martin Davis, chief executive of Draper Esprit.

“In the year ended 31st March, 2021, we have invested over 40 per cent more than in the prior year, with a notable acceleration even in the second half on the first. We continue to be disciplined in our investment criteria and also in managing the balance of the portfolio.

“The recent activity just goes to show how much opportunity there is in the European technology sector, making it a very exciting time for us as an investor, as reflected in our strong deal pipeline. We have helped 10 unicorns on their growth journeys to date and have confidence that we will see many more.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist