Draper Esprit raises £110m through share placing

Venture capital firm, a big backer of Irish tech companies, wants to increase investment

Draper Esprit is focused on high-growth digital tech companies. Photograph: iStock

Draper Esprit is focused on high-growth digital tech companies. Photograph: iStock

 

Dublin and London-listed venture capital firm Draper Esprit has raised £110 million (€120 million) via a placing of shares.

The firm, which has been a big backer of Irish tech companies, said it is looking to raise additional funds to increase its rate of investment to £120 million a year. The company said on Friday the placing was over subscribed.

“There is a significant opportunity to deploy further capital driven by a growing European venture capital market and an accelerated transition of digital driven by the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said.

Draper Esprit, which is focused on high-growth digital tech companies, said it intends to invest in larger rounds and in more direct follow-on and new deal opportunities, and to continue to back the Earlybird fund, in which it partners with a German VC of the same name.

The firm has deployed £450 million of capital and realised £211 million of investments since it went public in 2016.

Post Covid-19

“We have been closely watching the development of our portfolio companies and the market as a whole as the post Covid-19 world emerges, and have been greatly encouraged by the increased pace of change driven by greater adoption of technology and an increased priority on digitisation. This enables us to play a central role in helping entrepreneurs invent the future, and this funding round will play a key role in us delivering on that vision,” said Martin Davis, Draper Esprit’s chief executive.

The VC in June announced that profits fell by almost two-thirds last year to £40 million. Its gross portfolio value rose 18 per cent to £703 million to the end of March, and net asset value per share has increased to 555 pence.

Draper Esprit has since realised £35 million from the sale of its shares in Transferwise and Peak Games and a Series E funding round at a higher valuation for UiPath.

Among the Irish tech companies the VC has backed are CurrencyFair and Roomex.