State-backed Draper Esprit mulls fresh equity pursuit

Value of venture capital firm’s investment portfolio has risen 41% since June flotation

Brian Caulfield of Draper Esprit, Orla O’Gorman of the Irish Stock Exchange and Fergal McAleavey of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund: Draper Esprit raised €102 million from its initial public offering last year.

Draper Esprit, the Dublin- and London-listed venture capital firm backed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), has indicated it may return to investors for fresh equity, after raising €102 million in its initial public offering last June.

“Given the strong pipeline of potential new deals, the company is considering its options to raise further equity to increase its available cash resources in order to capitalise on these opportunities,” the company said in a trading update ahead of the publication of its maiden results for the year to the end of March.

Draper Esprit, where Irish serial entrepreneur Brian Caulfield is a managing partner and head of operations in this country, said the gross value of its portfolio of investments has increased by 41 per cent since its flotation last June, excluding the impact of new investments and asset sales during the period. Mr Caulfield is also on the board of The Irish Times.

Movidius sale

The company said it had raised £42 million (€49.2 million) since the initial public offering (IPO) from the sale of investments. These include £27 million from the sale last year of Dublin-based artificial intelligence technology company Movidius, in which Draper Esprit had a 10 per cent stake, to US chipmaking giant Intel.


“As a consequence of this growth and successful exits, the directors anticipate that the gross primary portfolio value of the investment portfolio will be in excess of £112 million,” it said, up from £78.7 million in June. “We have continued to see a strong pipeline of investment opportunities, driven by our evergreen capital model and our reputation as a go-to name in European venture capital financing.”

The company, which is almost 27 per cent owned by ISIF, had £24.8 million of net cash at the end of March, compared to £22.2 million in September.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times