Venture capital fund Draper Esprit returns 20% in first six months of year

Dublin and London listed firm £65m across 17 transactions during first six months of the year

Dublin and London-listed venture capital firm Draper Esprit returned 20 per cent to its investors in the first six months of the year, driven by a strong performance in its core portfolio.

In the six months to September 30th 2018, the company’s gross primary portfolio value increased by 45 per cent to £354 million (€402m), while it reported a 20 per cent fair value increase of £47.7 million. It reported net assets, excluding goodwill, of £440.3 million

Draper Esprit’s strategy is to provide early and growth-stage technology companies with the capital, network, and support they need to pursue their global growth plans. Its investments include online review siteTrustpilot, Perkbox, the digital employee engagement platform and Revolut, the London headquartered fintech company. Draper Esprit has previously backed a number of leading Irish tech companies such as Movidius and Clavis Insight.

Chief executive Simon Cook said the company remains "on course" to exceed its stated objective of a portfolio return of 20 per cent a year for the full year, given performance in the first half, noting that it remains one of the "most active" VCs in Europe.

“We have entered the second half of the current financial year with a healthy pipeline of both potential investments and realisations. Longer term, the strategically significant developments of the first half mean that we are well placed to continue to find and back the most exciting private European technology companies with the potential to become global leaders, while simultaneously providing our investors with access to these high-growth opportunities through a well-constructed portfolio,” he said.

Draper Esprit invested £65 million across 17 transactions during the period, and a further £10.6 million from co-investment funds, EIS and VCT. Eleven of these investments were new, and six existing. Of the eleven new, five came via the Earlybird partnership. This began back in July, when Draper Esprit teamed up with Berlin-based Earlybird, one of Europe’s most active venture capital partnership, and the company said on Monday that this relationship has already “begun to bear fruit”.

On Brexit, the company said that it is “mindful” of the uncertainty, noting that the ability for UK-based companies to access the best and brightest talent from around the world “remains critical”. It added however that being dual listed in both Dublin and London will give it “continued flexibility” post Brexit.