ABOUT US

 

Draper Esprit was founded in 2006 with a mission to back Europe's most ambitious entrepreneurs.
We invest into visionary and growing companies and also have the ability to do direct secondary deals into late stage tech companies as well as buying entire venture capital portfolios. We raise funds from a variety sources and always are able to source capital for the best opportunities through our partnerships.

Leading institutional LPs have committed more than $1 billion to our funds historically, and we are one of the largest and most active VC firms in Europe. In 2016 we moved our Primary funds into a listed PLC model to allow us to take a longer term, multi-stage, patient capital approach. Please see our Investors section for more information.

In 2012, we launched our first angel EIS co-investment fund to enable founders, tech executives and HNW’s to invest alongside us to help build bigger networks for our portfolio companies. Through our angel EIS co-investment funds, we have successfully deployed capital on behalf of over a hundred personal investors into some of Europe’s fastest growing companies alongside our leading institutional investors. For more information contact Richard Marsh.

Draper Esprit has also been the most active secondary tech investor in Europe having acquired ten VC portfolios to date as well as direct stakes into later stage companies. Our total capital commitments for secondary transactions is over $400m and if you’d like to speak about a secondary opportunity please contact Olav Ostin.

DRAPER ESPRIT FACTS

 
 

Funds raised to date

$1.15 BN

No. of investments made since foundation

+

Currently investing from

Our permanent capital PLC balance sheet, our annual EIS funds and deal-by-deal secondary funds
 
 

No. of countries with a Draper Esprit portfolio company

22

Exits since 2010

$3.5 BN

NEWS FEED
See all our newsworthy stories

 

A VC Firm IPOs… Itself

Posted by Paula Darlison, 16 Jun 2016

Article by Dan Primack, Fortune magazine

Draper Esprit is now publicly traded in London.

Draper Esprit, a London-based VC firm that has been backing European startups since 2006, is now publicly-traded on London’s AIM.

The IPO raised £103 million, with proceeds being used to buy out limited partner positions in existing funds (it had last raised in 2010). Around £24 million of the IPO came via LPs rolling over their stakes, while the other £79 million was new capital.

Simon Cook, Draper Esprit’s co-founder and CEO, says that he and his partners were planning to launch a new fundraise, but ultimately felt that a “patient capital” model would make more sense, given how few startups are mature enough for exit within the 10-year investment life of a traditional fund.

“Look at how many U.S. funds are extended,” Cook says. “Or all of the other things that firms are adding, like opportunity funds. In Europe, venture capital is not as well understood by LPs, so adding lots of things can create confusion. Plus, there are a lot of investors that, for regulatory reasons, can’t invest in an illiquid fund structure.”

To be sure, this isn’t novel. 3i Group ― where Cook once worked ― has been publicly traded for years. So is Imperial Innovations. Last year, Neil Woodford raised £800 million via an LSE float (Woodford also is a Draper Esprit backer). And then there is Boston-based Allied Minds, which also went public in London.

Cook doesn’t believe the model would necessarily work in the U.S. although, to be honest, I’m not so sure. Private equity has been moving a bit in this direction, with balance sheets at firms like KKR actually supporting growth equity deals in tech startups, and there was talk before the financial crisis of Sequoia Capital trying to pull off an IPO. Remember, the UK had equity crowdfunding long before the U.S. got around to it….

Read more

So We Just IPO’d Our Venture Capital Firm (Draper Esprit plc)

Posted by Paula Darlison, 15 Jun 2016

Draper Esprit plc is pleased to announce that on Wednesday 15th June we will be admitted to the London and Dublin Stock Exchanges with the stock tickers GROW.L and GRW.I raising an initial £102m of permanent capital. That’s PERMANENT capital – i.e. money we can grow and invest over and over again in generations of startups, not a one-time fund.

Why IPO a venture firm? Like the entrepreneurs we support, we have always seen the world a little differently and believe that, just because there’s a way it’s always been done, it doesn’t always have to be that way. The current popular VC structure, the Limited Partnership (LP) was first used nearly 60 years ago by our very own Tim Draper’s grandfather, General William Henry Draper, who moved to Palo Alto and started the first private VC limited partnership: Draper, Gaither and Andersen.

Whilst the 5+5 year LP model has been largely unchanged since 1957, and it clearly works for many successful VC funds, there are some interesting new “patient capital” models emerging here in Europe. Europe and especially the UK lead the way globally in innovation in financial technology. From crowdfunding to currency exchange, the environment for innovation here sometimes challenges the USA and has driven the “Fintech” revolution to its recent highs. We are pleased to join a number of successful “patient capital”, non-LP VC firms already developing this new model in Europe, providing long term permanent capital to technology companies; firms such as as Imperial Innovations plc, IP Group plc, BGF Ventures, Eight Roads and Octopus Ventures.

Having a different view is risky. As every entrepreneur who has had that “eureka!” moment appreciates, you learn that others often don’t see things the same way immediately; many will disagree, and the pull of the status quo is formidable. Like the visionary teams we back, we are doing what feels right to us, we believe in the model and we are 100% committed.
Our motivations for evolving our VC business model were threefold and we want to share these with you.

INVESTING FOR THE LONGER TERM

First, we wanted to be able to invest for much longer in our winning companies than a typical 5+5 year LP fund allows, and to be able to build bigger stakes as companies remain private for longer periods. The pressure to show returns in Europe continues to force funds to sell out early after just a few years, and we believe the best global technology businesses take much longer to build to their maximum potential. We’ve gone public so our portfolio companies don’t have to until they are ready.

Europe has different capital markets from the US, and we are fortunate to have supportive long term shareholders including Woodford Investment Management, the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, China Huarong Asset Management, Ballie Gifford and several other city institutions and successful entrepreneurs and family offices, many of whom have active later stage and IPO investment activities. This will allow us to complement our series A and B rounds with larger growth capital rounds later. As highlighted by many respected firms such as Atomico, growth capital remains the main funding gap in Europe for technology companies. We are pleased to be able to help address this gap by bringing major equity investors into the technology VC market, who don’t typically invest in Limited Partnerships.

DEMOCRATISING VC ROUNDS

The second motivation was to further democratise funding for entrepreneurs. Draper Esprit has joined the revolution for early stage investing with our EIS angel network and our investments in crowdfunding platforms: Crowdcube, Unbound, and Seedrs. We wanted to extend this openness to all investors through series A, B and later VC rounds. At present individual investors can access seed deals through crowd platforms, but after that traditionally the VC LP model has restricted who can invest in VC LP funds. So, rounds from series A onward are often unavailable to ordinary investors, restricted to large family offices and LP focused institutions. Many exciting technology companies are not accessible for investment by individuals until their IPO or even later. Now everyone can participate in the growth of VC–backed companies from their earliest stages through series A, B and beyond in the later stages up to and including their IPO. In some ways an IPO is just a very large crowdfund and we love being able to open up our investments to the wider community.

LONG TERM CULTURE

Our third motivation was to add depth to our culture – to help Draper Esprit become a more permanent business, moving away from the risks of only being as good as our last fund, creating a vision for a firm that will be here in 20 years’ time or longer.

Like our best portfolio companies we can look beyond our next fund raise, and that will allow us to invest more in our business: we can invest for the long term in our people, in our services; we can build our brand alongside the ever inspiring Tim Draper; we can create a deeper training programme and career path for our staff (ps we are hiring associates, marketing and data scientists); and we can build upon the services provided to our portfolio via our membership in the global Draper Venture Network, particularly global expansion, recruitment and IPO/M&A/business development support. Culture is vitally important in any business and a long-term vision will strengthen our firm and make us a better partner. After all, what better way to understand how to help entrepreneurs to build and IPO great businesses than to do it ourselves?

KICKSTARTING THE MODEL

To get started, we have transferred our existing portfolio company investments on to our balance sheet and are very excited to have such an amazing portfolio for our shareholders to invest in today. Great companies such as Trustpilot, Graze, Movidius, Sportpursuit, Conversocial and Lyst, among many others, will underpin our portfolio growth from day one. We look forward to be able to continue to work with their management teams to build these exciting global leaders for many years to come, sharing that growth with our shareholders. We appreciate short-term share price movements will be impacted by daily sentiment on the health of the technology industry or global economy, and we are prepared for that; our broad, growing portfolio will help. As Mark Andresen and Ben Horowitz found with the IPO and growth of Opsware, value ultimately comes down to building a good company over the long term, and investors recognise that. We take inspiration from the $1 billion+ market cap listed UK university IP investment firms, such as Imperial Innovations plc and IP Group plc, who have operated in these conditions for many years, and who have been credited with transforming university technology commercialisation in the UK. We hope to do the same for digital entrepreneurs, wherever in Europe we find them.

Of course, we will be actively looking to add many new entrepreneurial companies to our portfolio and we will continue to invest £500k to £30m+ in series A, B, C and beyond rounds across Europe. Our day job will remain as it has been for the last 10 years: helping to build global companies starting in Europe but with potential in the US, Asia and globally, with the aim to create global across consumer, enterprise, hardware and digital health.

We welcome our new PLC board members; Karen Slatford, Richard Pelly and Grahame Cook, and thank our new capital markets advisors at Numis, Goodbody and Zeus, who will help us to grow further over the coming years.

Thank you for your support and sharing our adventure over the last 10 years. We hope you will join us in our next evolution as we transform our VC model in Europe, and accompany us for many years to come as a publicly listed company. Our mission is simple: the right amount of capital as you need it, for as long as you need it, from whoever wants to invest in you at any stage.

The founding team of Draper Esprit plc

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We support creative European founders in turning their products into global companies

STAGES OF FUNDING
Our strategy is to invest in companies that create new markets or disrupt old ones

We invest in every stage of building disruptive technology companies. This includes getting in early with seed and Series A deals, all the way up to growth opportunities. We also have the capabilities to invest into secondary transactions in later stage companies as well as buying entire funds from other tech investors. Check out our current portfolio to see the stage and sectors that we are most active in.

 
 

Consumer & Commerce

Achica

Consumer & Commerce Sector
Private buying club for luxury lifestyle products
Connect to company:
www.achica.com

Systems & Semiconductors

Aveillant

Systems & Semiconductors Sector
3D holographic radar and radater data services
Lead Partner: Alan Duncan
Connect to company:
aveillant.com

Mobile

Bitbar

Mobile Sector
Automated mobile software build and testing solutions
Connect to company:
testdroid.com

Enterprise & Data

Bright Computing

Enterprise & Data Sector
The leading provider of cluster management software
Connect to company:
www.brightcomputing.com

Enterprise & Data

Campanja

Enterprise & Data Sector
Real-time and high-frequency bid management software
Connect to company:
campanja.com

Enterprise & Data

Conversocial

Enterprise & Data Sector
Cloud-based enterprise social customer service
Connect to company:
conversocial.com

Enterprise & Data

Crate

Enterprise & Data Sector
Open source data store
Connect to company:
crate.io

Enterprise & Data

Datahug

Enterprise & Data Sector
Relationshiop intelligence software
Lead Partner: Brian Caulfield
Connect to company:
datahug.com

Systems & Semiconductors

Displaydata

Systems & Semiconductors Sector
FKA as ZBD. Designs and manufactures low power LCD displays
Lead Partner: Richard Marsh
Connect to company:
www.displaydata.com

Consumer & Commerce

Graze

Consumer & Commerce Sector
Nutritionally balanaced snack subscription service
Lead Partner: Simon Cook
Connect to company:
graze.com

Consumer & Commerce

Lyst

Consumer & Commerce Sector
Personalized fashion marketplace
Connect to company:
lyst.com

Systems & Semiconductors

Movidius

Systems & Semiconductors Sector
Vision processor technology for mobile and portable devices
Lead Partner: Brian Caulfield
Connect to company:
www.movidius.com

Mobile

MTT – Mobile Travel Technologies

Mobile Sector
Mobile commerce platform for the global travel industry
Lead Partner: Brian Caulfield
Connect to company:
mttnow.com

Systems & Semiconductors

Netronome

Systems & Semiconductors Sector
Highly programmable semiconductor products for intelligent flow processing in network and comms devices.
Connect to company:
www.netronome.com

Health & Wellbeing

Oxford Immunotec

Health & Wellbeing Sector
IPO on NASDAQ in 2013
Connect to company:
oxfordimmunotec.com

Systems & Semiconductors

Phyworks

Systems & Semiconductors Sector
Acquired by Maxim Integrated Products
Connect to company:
www.maximintegrated.com

Enterprise & Data

RadiumOne

Enterprise & Data Sector
Online ad network
Connect to company:
radiumone.com

Enterprise & Data

RhodeCode

Enterprise & Data Sector
RhodeCode has created RhodeCode Enterprise which is an enterprise-grade source code management and collaboration solution that supports Git and Mercurial repository systems. It helps bridge the gap between the requirements enterprises have and the flexibility and ease of use that developers increasingly expect.
Connect to company:
rhodecode.com

Consumer & Commerce

SportsPursuit

Consumer & Commerce Sector
Ecommerce sports website
Connect to company:
www.sportpursuit.com

Consumer & Commerce

Tails.com

Consumer & Commerce Sector
Dog food tailor-made for your pet
Lead Partner: Simon Cook
Connect to company:
tails.com

Mobile

Taptu/Mediafed

Mobile Sector
Mobile social and media tech company
Connect to company:
www.taptu.com

Enterprise & Data

Trustpilot

Enterprise & Data Sector
World's largest consumer reviews platform
Connect to company:
trustpilot.com

Systems & Semiconductors

XMOS

Systems & Semiconductors Sector
Programmable chips bringing together the capabilities of processors, DSPs, ASICs and FPGAs
Lead Partner: Alan Duncan
Connect to company:
www.xmos.com

Draper Venture Network

 

The Draper Venture Network is a self-governed organization of 16 independent venture funds operating on four continents that cooperate on market intelligence, corporate relationships, investment diligence and co-investments. The Draper Venture Network started in 1990. All members raise their own capital and manage their investment decisions independently.
Read more here...

 

OUR TEAM | Investing Partners

 
 
Simon Cook

Simon Cook

Partner

Simon is the CEO of Draper Esprit and has been involved with the European VC industry since 1995. He co-founded Draper Esprit in 2005 and has been involved with a number of Europe’s most successful startups including Lovefilm (Amazon), Cambridge Silicon Radio (IPO), Virata (IPO), nCipher (IPO) and KVS (Symantec). Previously Simon was a partner with Elderstreet Investements and a Director at 3i. He was a computer games developer early in his career and is a graduate of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

Portfolio Companies

Current: Graze

Stuart Chapman

Stuart Chapman

Partner

Prior to co-founding Draper Esprit in 2005 Stuart was a partner of 3i Ventures where he was also a founding partner of their Menlo Park office.  Over his 13 years at 3i he was responsible for investments in Neutec Pharma (LSE), Network Technology (LSE), The Cloud, Searchspace and Magic 4.  Stuart served as a member of the BVCA Council and Chairman of the Venture Committee and before 3i he was involved in software and systems implementations in the Banking sector.

He is a graduate of Loughborough University and serves as a Board Member of the Loughborough School of Business and Economics.

Portfolio Companies Current: StrikeAd, Kiadis, Pulmagen, M-files, Metalysis, and Doutissima.

Portfolio Companies

Current: ClearSwift, RoadAngel, StrikeAd, Kiadis, M-files, Doutissima

Brian Caulfield

Brian Caulfield

Partner

Brian is a serial entrepreneur turned VC. He previously founded software companies Exceptis Technologies which was acquired by Trintech Group and Similarity Systems that was acquired by Informatica. Prior to joining Draper Esprit, Brian was a partner at Trinity Venture Capital where he sat on the boards of or led investments in AePONA (Intel), ChangingWorlds (Amdocs), CR2, SteelTrace (Compuware) and APT (CSR). Brian currently sits on the boards of Clavis Technology and the Irish Times in addition to his Draper Esprit portfolio companies. Brian is a Computer Engineering graduate of Trinity College Dublin.

Portfolio Companies

Current: Datahug, Mobile Travel Technologies, Getbulb, Movidius

Jonathan Sibilia

Jonathan Sibilia

Partner

Jonathan joined Draper Esprit in 2009. Prior to joining the company he was a senior associate in the technology group at Jefferies International advising on high-profile cross-border M&A, debt & equity offerings. Previously he worked at Rothschild & CIE in Paris. He also worked at Apax Partners Corporate Finance in France. Jonathan holds a MA in Management from EM-Lyon and the University of St Gallen in Switzerland and a MA in Advanced Corporate Finance from the University of Paris IX Dauphine.

Portfolio Companies

Current: Mobile Commerce, Qosmos

Olav-Ostin

Olav Ostin

Partner

Olav is a Managing Partner of the Draper Esprit secondary practice and has been involved with the venture capital industry for the past 15 years.  In 2006, Olav co-founded Tempo Capital which joined the Draper Venture Network in 2012 to form Draper Esprit Secondaries.  Between 2000 and 2004, Olav was a Managing Director of the venture capital firm ETF Group and previously spent 6 years in investment banking at Enskilda Securities

Portfolio Companies

Current: Airweb, Awox, Boku, Miura Systems, OneAccess, Rockmobile

Richard Marsh

Richard Marsh

Partner

Richard is an experienced software entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. He founded and built Datanomic, a Cambridge-based software company which was a pioneer of Data Quality software and was acquired by Oracle. Richard is responsible for Draper Esprit’s investments in Connectivity (KCOM), Garlik (Experian), GreenPeak Technologies, Polatis, Psytechnics (NetScout) and ZBD Solutions. Richard is an Engineering graduate of Cambridge University where he also received his PhD. Richard holds an MBA from IMD, Lausanne, where he was a Sainsbury Management Fellow.

Portfolio Companies

Current: Connectivity, GreenPeak, Polatis, Psytechnics, DisplayData, Conversocial

David Tate

David Tate

Partner

David is a Managing Partner in the secondary practice, which acquires portfolios of venture assets and single line investments. He has been involved in the secondary market since 2003, when he co-founded Tempo Capital, which merged with Draper Esprit in 2012, and in primary investing since 1998, and prior to this was in investment banking. He is a Chartered Accountant and was educated at Jesus College, Oxford, University College in London, and has completed the AMP at Insead.

Portfolio Companies

Current: CAST, Cerillion, MPLSystems, Trace One

OUR TEAM | Venture Partners

 
 
Vishal Gulati

Vishal Gulati

Venture Partner

Dr. Vishal Gulati is one of the Europe’s leading digital healthcare investors. Vishal is a qualified physician and chairman of the Digital Health Forum. Over the last decade he has championed deals across areas including diagnostics, devices & biotech. He is currently on the boards of Horizon Discovery PLC and EcoEos. His investments include Napo Pharmaceuticals, Glenmark, Renovo, Phagenesis. He has also held board positions at Psynova Neurotech, Bioscale and Enigma Diagnostics. Previously, Vishal worked at Atlas Venture, The Wellcome Trust and Radiant Capital.

Portfolio Companies

Current: Horizon Discovery

Alan Duncan

Alan Duncan

Venture Partner

Alan has been in the venture capital industry for more than twenty years, initially through establishing a corporate venturing fund for Ferranti and then with Foreign & Colonial Ventures, Newmarket Venture Capital and Prelude Ventures. He joined DFJ Esprit when it was formed in 2006.

Alan is responsible for a portfolio of Draper Esprit’s electronics investments including Phyworks, Lime Microsystems, SiConnect, XMOS and DisplayLink. His previous investments have included Alphamosaic (sold to Broadcom) and nCipher (IPO on LSE).

Alan has an electronic engineering background and gained his industrial experience in computer systems with Ferranti plc.

Alan is a past member of the European Venture Capital Association High Tech Committee and lecturer on the EVCA’s venture capital professional training courses.

Portfolio Companies

Current: Aveillant, Displaylink, Lime Microsystems, XMOS

team_mikko

Mikko Suonenlahti

Venture Partner

Mikko currently resides in Helsinki and is a venture partner with Draper Esprit. Mikko has over 30 years of experience in building businesses of which 20 of those years were as a venture capitalist in the US and Europe and 10 years of operations. He has personally led investments into Carbonite (CARB), Iobox (TEF), Pedestal Software (ATRS / SYMC), Sample Rate Systems (FLEX) SiGe Semiconductor (SWKS) and Tedasys (TLSYN) amongst others.

Portfolio Companies

Current: M-Files

team_sven

Sven Lung

Venture Partner

Sven is a venture partner at Draper Esprit based in Paris. Sven founded the leading European ecommerce site BrandAlley.com in 2005 where he led as CEO until 2012 where he built the company up to a €150m in revenues. In 2014, Sven launched Green Park Content (previously named Doutissima), an online health and beautfy platform with offices in France and Brazil with backing from Draper Esprit and Telefonica.

David Cummings

David Cummings

Venture Partner

David is a venture partner responsible for the EIS co-investment funds at Draper Esprit. He is also an active angel investor in technology companies and a member of Cambridge Angels.  His current portfolio consists of over 20 companies including Truphone, Grapeshot, LoopMe, Ionscope, Centrix, Wazoku, Unbound and Arachnys. Prior to Draper Esprit, David worked at Lazard where he was the Managing Director running the TMT group in London. He was also at KPMG and IMI. David is a graduate of Trinity Hall, Cambridge and LBS.

Portfolio Companies

Current: Unbound

OUR TEAM | Operations

 
 
Paula-Darlison

Paula Darlison

Group Administration Manager

Paula is the Group Administration Manager and has been with Draper Esprit since its inception, having worked alongside the founding team since 2000.  Prior to Draper Esprit she has worked as an executive assistant at Cazenove, JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley throughout more than 25 years within the City of London.

Stephanie Teubler

Stephanie Edwards

Team PA

Steph is based in the London office of Draper Esprit and supports the investment team as an assistant where she administers deal-flow. Steph has experience working at other investment firms in London as a team PA and was most recently at Amadeus. Steph has an MA in Translation from London Metropolitan University & a BA in English from Oxford Brookes.

Graham Redman

Graham Redman

CFO

Graham joined the Draper Esprit team in 2006 and is responsible for the financial and IT systems of the firm.  He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers working in London, Norwich and Raleigh, primarily with SMEs before moving into industry.  After leaving PwC Graham became the Senior Accounting Manager for INC Research, a US Research Triangle based CRO before taking a Controllership position at Unitive Electronics, a venture-backed semi-conductor packaging company based in the US. Graham holds an MA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University where he studied at Sidney Sussex College.

Daniel Pearce

Daniel Pearce

Accountant

Daniel has been the Accountant of Draper Esprit since joining the firm in 2007 working directly with the CFO on the firm’s financial reporting and back office duties. Previously he spent time working as a management accountant in both the petroleum and manufacturing industries with a couple of years working in practice. Daniel is a qualified accounting technician with 11 year’s experience behind him. In his spare time Daniel coaches football to children as a FA qualified coach.

CONTACT US

London Dublin Cambridge

 
 
 
 

London | HQ
14 Gray’s Inn Road,
London, WC1X 8HN
Tel: +44 20 7931 8800

Dublin
5th Floor
O'Connell Bridge House (OCBH)
D'Olier Street
Dublin 2
Ireland
Tel: +353 1 645 2324

Cambridge | HQ
Draper Esprit LLP,
Building 1010,
Cambourne Business Park,
Cambourne,
Cambridge, CB23 6DP
Tel: +44 1223 307 770
Fax: +44 1223 307 771

 
 
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