Draper Esprit announce acquisition of Seedcamp funds I and II incl a stake in Transferwise

Posted by Isabella Cookson, 25 Oct 2017

Draper Esprit (AIM: GROW, ESM: GRW), a leading venture capital firm investing in high growth digital technology businesses, has announced the acquisition of Seedcamp Funds I and II ("the Funds") for £17.9 million (€20 million). ("the Transaction"). As a result, the Company has acquired stakes in high profile growing technology companies including Transferwise, a leading UK based Fintech business. The portfolio also includes a number of promising companies including Codacy, Edited, Erply, Fishbrain, Codility, Winnow, Codeship and The portfolio's last reported NAV was £23.5 million (€26.3 million), resulting in an increase of £5.6 million (€6.3 million) (~7p per share) for the Company, against the latest reported NAV per share as at 30 September 2017 of 372p (NAV per share, excluding goodwill, of 344p). Transferwise, the international money transfer platform, will be added to the Company's Core Portfolio. Co-founded by Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, TransferWise launched in 2011. It is one of Europe's most successful fintech startups having raised $117m in funding from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sir Richard Branson, Valar Ventures and Max Levchin of PayPal. Over a million people use TransferWise to transfer over $1.2 billion every month. Draper Esprit's other core portfolio companies include Trustpilot, Clavis Insights, Sportpursuit, M-Files, Graze, Lyst, Conversocial, Push Doctor, Graphcore and Perkbox. An overview of other notable holdings from this Transaction are detailed below. Following the deal, Draper Esprit will continue to invest further in the portfolio to help it develop and grow, working closely with both the team at Seedcamp and within the portfolio companies as they grow. The Seedcamp management team will continue to work closely alongside the Draper Esprit team to manage the portfolio and to create further value for founders and investors in the Funds. To date, the combined Seedcamp Funds I and II, raised in 2007 and 2010, have returned over 4x capital to their investors. Seedcamp also continues its management of other Seedcamp funds unrelated to this Transaction. Simon Cook, CEO Draper Esprit plc commented: "Although principally a primary series A, B and C VC Growth investor, we have also been very active over the years as a secondary tech investor in Europe having acquired a number of well-known VC portfolios and increasingly taking large direct stakes in later stage companies. Together with our recently announced seed fund of funds strategy we can offer long term patient capital solutions for all European tech companies and their investors outside of the constraints of a typical 5+5 year fund. "We have a great relationship with Seedcamp and recently invested directly in their Seedcamp IV fund to give our investors access to seed stage opportunities. This acquisition further bolsters our growing secondary business; and we are excited to work with a really good portfolio of European technology companies including Transferwise, one of Europe's most successful startups." Reshma Sohoni, Seedcamp Co-founder & Managing Partner, commented: "We are thrilled to help our Seedcamp companies scale to the next level with the support and firepower of Draper Esprit. As the Seedcamp team continue to manage Funds 1 and 2, Draper is the perfect partner to help us manage these businesses moving forward and ensure we continue to go above and beyond in delivering returns to our LPs." Carlos Eduardo Espinal, Seedcamp Managing Partner, added: "We see this as a great outcome working alongside experienced and knowledgeable investors who've supported us for many years. We are always looking at innovative ways to deliver exceptional returns to our LPs and believe this transaction is a win-win for everyone involved. We look forward to continuing to work with the growing companies and founders from our first and second funds with Draper's added horsepower." Other notable companies in this Transaction: Codacy Based in Lisbon, Portgual this is an automated code review platform which raised a further $5.1 million in Series A funding from EQT Ventures, Faber, Caixa Capital, Join Capital and Seedcamp. Codacy is used by hundreds of companies, including Paypal, Adobe, Qlik, Cancer Research UK and Deliveroo. Editd Editd creates real-time data analytics software for apparel retailers and brands to monitor the clothing retail market worldwide. The company has clients across the globe including in the UK, US, China, Australia, South Africa and South America. Erply Erply is an enterprise software company focusing on point of sale and inventory management technology and was founded in 2009. Fishbrain Fishbrain is social network and app for fishing. Other investors in the company include Northzone, , Active Venture Partners, GP Bullhound and Edastra Venture Capital. Codility Codility is a global leader in tech recruiting assessments. In June it announced it had become the most widely used platform to help companies evaluate and hire the best tech talent having assessed over 4 million candidates. Winnow Winnow is a UK startup that has developed smart kitchen technology to help commercial kitchens reduce waste. Customers include IKEA, Compass Group and AccorHotels. It recently announced it raised a further $7.4 million from Circularity Capital, Mustard Seed and D-Ax. Codeship Based in Boston and with offices in Vienna and Berlin, Codeship offers Continuous Integration products in the cloud that integrate with the existing DevOps stack and enables clients to accelerate time-to-market of products and features. is an e-commerce platform that allows you to try clothes before you buy from any online store.


Interim results for the period ended 30 September 2017

Posted by Isabella Cookson, 24 Oct 2017

Draper Esprit (AIM: GROW, ESM: GRW), a leading venture capital firm involved in the creation, funding and development of high-growth digital technology businesses, today announces its Interim Results for the period ended 30 September 2017. Financial highlights · Gross Primary Portfolio value* increased by 44% to £162.8 million (31 March 2017: £112.7 million) · Net Assets including goodwill, of £266.8 million (31 March 2017: £150.7 million) · NAV per share of 372 pence (31 March 2017: 370 pence) · NAV per share, excluding goodwill, of 344 pence (31 March 2017: 319 pence) · Profit after tax of £20.9 million (31 March 2017: £33.2 million) · Additional capital raised of £100.0 million in plc (£95.3 million net) with £92.0 million cash on balance sheet at period end Operational highlights · £26.5 million deployed by plc with a further £12.0 million from EIS/VCT funds into next generation opportunities · The Group has invested in 3 new and 6 existing portfolio companies. · Gross primary portfolio fair value grew by 22% · Core Portfolio** holdings have increased by 55% (£17.7 million invested and £25.4 million fair value growth) · £100.0 million additional capital raised from new and existing shareholders by plc and £35.0 million across the EIS and VCT funds. · Hired experienced Partner, Ben Tompkins who was formerly Managing Partner at Eden Ventures and tech investment banker at Broadview/ Jefferies where he was co-head of the Global Software, Services and Media practice. *Gross primary portfolio is the gross value of the Company's investment holdings before deductions for carry and any deferred tax. ** Core Portfolio holdings is comprises: Graze, Trustpilot, M-Files, Conversocial, Lyst, Sportpursuit, Clavis Insights, Perkbox, Push Doctor and Graphcore Simon Cook, CEO Draper Esprit commented: "We set ourselves a financial benchmark of achieving 20% year on year growth in portfolio value in line with our historical record and are consistently achieving this. At the half year we have already delivered 22% growth in the portfolio and stand well positioned to deliver over the full year with significant cash balances remaining to deploy. "Importantly, we are retaining the ability to hold and grow our companies for longer than our non-listed competitors can and with larger sums available for later rounds to maximise the opportunity and build large successful European technology businesses. We continue to find exciting new opportunities as technology innovation shows no sign of slowing, and our recent seed funds initiative is helping to forge key relationships at the very earliest stages. "We are demonstrating that our model in action continues to work, with Net Asset Value growing substantially and we are on target to hit our expectations across all metrics for the year end."


Draper Esprit targets seed funds with strategy to invest significantly over the next five years

Posted by Isabella Cookson, 16 Oct 2017

Draper Esprit (AIM: GROW, ESM: GRW), a leading venture capital firm investing in high growth digital technology businesses, announces a strategy to target up to £75m ($100m) of investment in the top seed funds across Europe over a five-year period. Draper Esprit has committed to invest in the latest funds of both Seedcamp ( and Episode 1 Ventures (, widely recognised as two of the UK’s leading seed fund platforms. Draper Esprit are already investors in leading crowdfunding companies, Crowdcube and Seedrs. This complements Draper Esprit’s core investment strategy, set out at the time of the Company’s fundraising in June this year, to invest up to approximately £100m ($130 million) a year in technology businesses at series A, B, and C+ rounds across the Group’s funds (the plc balance sheet, EIS, VCT and secondary funds), with investment from the Company’s balance sheet representing approximately £60 million per annum. By closely aligning Draper Esprit with the seed fund ecosystem, the Company is able to provide growth capital to the best companies and unlock the strong performance of Europe’s highest quality seed funds to the benefit of the plc shareholders. Simon Cook, CEO Draper Esprit plc commented: “Our mission to democratise the venture capital model continues. Our plan is to create a significant fund of funds business, which will target investment in 10 to 20 seed funds, angel networks and early stage investment platforms over the coming years. We are investing in two of the UK’s best-known seed investors: Seedcamp and Episode 1 and are currently looking into three others. “By partnering with the best seed funds, we can help them scale up their series A and B funding rounds more quickly, which in turn will accelerate growth for the most ambitious entrepreneurs. “We have a number of pools of capital to back leading entrepreneurs and to deploy across the different funding life cycles of fast growing technology companies. External investors both institutional and private can use our evergreen listed venture capital model to access, on a pooled basis, the top seed funding platforms, screened and picked by our experienced team. This gives them exposure to a very important asset class on a pooled portfolio approach; giving a degree of risk mitigation, with added liquidity and without them having to sift through and pick individual seed funds themselves.” He added: “Post Brexit it is imperative that UK investors continue to have access to the best early stage investment opportunities and having established itself as a leading hub for technology entrepreneurs from all over the world, the UK needs to keep supporting all stages of venture funding. Draper Esprit is building a business of scale, partnering with leading institutional and private investors, to support and benefit from high growth private technology companies across Europe.” Reshma Sohoni, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Seedcamp commented: “At Seedcamp there is a key ingredient of our model that gives us a performance edge. That ingredient is our LPs and we choose them carefully. We strive to bring on experienced Angels, top tier VCs, active Corporates and knowledgeable Family Offices and Fund of Funds around the table. With Draper, we are thrilled to get a double combination - both a top-notch VC who will be able to invest at Series A and beyond in our companies and is a fund of funds business with relationships we can benefit from. We are honoured to be one of the first investments from their new fund of funds.” Simon Murdoch, Managing Partner of Episode 1 commented: “We’ve known Draper Esprit for many years and are excited to be working with them again. As a leading seed fund our role is to find and accelerate UK startups helping them to become the sort of rapidly growing businesses that Draper Esprit want to invest in and grow to global success stories.” Ends For further information, please contact: Draper Esprit plc Simon Cook (Chief Executive Officer) Ben Wilkinson (Chief Financial Officer) +44 (0)20 7931 8800 Numis Securities Nominated Adviser & Joint Broker Alex Ham Richard Thomas Jamie Loughborough Harry Trueman +44 (0)20 7260 1000 Goodbody Stockbrokers ESM Adviser & Joint Broker Don Harrington Linda Hickey Charlotte Craigie Richard Tunney +353 1 667 0420 Belvedere Communications (PR) John West Kim van Beeck +44 (0)20 3567 0510 Notes to Editors About Draper Esprit Draper Esprit is one of the most active venture capital firms in Europe, developing and investing in disruptive, high growth technology companies. We believe the best entrepreneurs in Europe are capable of building the global businesses of the future. We fuel their growth with long- term capital, access to international networks and decades of experience building businesses. Currently Draper Esprit is a shareholder in a diverse portfolio of companies including Trustpilot, Graze, Perkbox, PushDoctor and Graphcore. For more information visit About Seedcamp Seedcamp is Europe's seed fund, identifying and investing early in world-class founders attacking large, global markets and solving real problems using technology. Since launch a decade ago Seedcamp has invested in 250 startups including fintech unicorn TransferWise. For more information visit About Episode 1 Ventures Episode 1 Ventures is a software ¬only venture capital firm that invests £250k to £1m in early¬ stage, revenue- ¬generating startups and plays an active and supportive role in turning them into growth businesses. With experience of startups from the inside, it provides frank and fast feedback to founders as well as strong entrepreneurial ‘know- ¬how’ and a passion for building successful businesses. With 20+ years of experience investing in software businesses, its partners have made early investments in some of the UK’s best- known success stories including Betfair, LoveFilm, Natural Motion, ScanSafe, Shazam, Shutl, Zoopla and Viagogo. Founded in 2013 and based in London, the firm is rapidly forming a portfolio of software businesses with enormous potential for growth. Its investments include CarWow, Cluster HQ, Raising IT, Scurri, SwiftShift, Touch Surgery, TripTease, TV Beat and User Replay. For more information visit


Verve, the world’s leading word-of-mouth sales software for live entertainment, raises $18.5 million

Posted by Isabella Cookson, 10 Oct 2017

Verve, co-founded by Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, is building a global platform that enables people to sell products they love to their friends in exchange for rewards. Over the last 12 months Verve has achieved significant success within the live entertainment industry, growing from 170 to 450 clients, selling more than 500,000 tickets globally and securing major partnerships with some of the best ticketing companies around the world. With $28.5m raised to date, the company will use the capital to continue its global expansion within the live entertainment sector, as well as enter new markets.   In a globalised and noisy world, customers increasingly crave authentic and curated experiences. Nothing fulfils this more than a recommendation from a friend based on both their accumulated knowledge of their own passion, and their understanding of your evolving tastes and idiosyncrasies. We all have experts in our networks who can access faster than ever before — the friend who is obsessed with computers, the one who knows all the best restaurants or that person who you turn to for fashion advice. These are the people who are the most valuable when making a purchase decision. Verve enables brands to harness the power of these recommendations, turning word of mouth into a reliable and scalable sales channel for the first time.   Verve’s clients include Live Nation, AEG, C3, Bonnaroo, React Presents, Bestival, Digital Dreams, Electric Zoo and many more.   Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit, says: "Callum and Liam have built a world-class team which we back with full confidence. We very much believe in where Verve is heading. Today’s audiences are becoming immune to traditional advertising and increasingly prefer to discover through friends and people they trust. Verve has already proven word of mouth is a scalable and powerful tool for live entertainment, and we will support them in taking this channel to other markets and sectors.”   Leila Zegna, founding partner at Kindred, says: "Kindred is delighted to have increased its commitment to Verve as a part of this financing round, joining a strong global venture capital brand in Draper Esprit.”   “Since our first investment in Verve in 2016, we have been continually impressed by the buildout and strength of the management team, as well as the consistent execution against ambitious product and commercial targets. Going forward, we are excited about Verve's ability to not only dominate the festivals market but also penetrate the enormous opportunities within music and sport on a global basis."   "We were very impressed with the success of the Krewe of Voodoo and their ability to get tickets into more fans hands and helping grow Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. We look forward to working with them again this year!” Patrick Dentler, Marketing Director, C3 Presents   “Verve has successfully grown our network, encouraging our biggest fans to join us in selling tickets for the best festivals in the world.” - Festival Republic


UK Insurtech Company Premfina Raises $36m To Make Insurance More Accessible, In An Oversubscribed Round Led By Draper Esprit

Posted by Isabella Cookson, 04 Oct 2017

  • UK insurance premium financing and software company PremFina raises $36M in equity and debt
  • The funds will strengthen PremFina’s expansion into new global markets and meet high demand in the UK
  • PremFina is fully regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
London, UK: PremFina Ltd, a UK-based company that increases access to insurance by providing financing options for the purchase of insurance premiums, today announced US$36 million in equity funding and a debt facility. Rakuten Capital, the investment arm of Japan’s Rakuten, a global leader in e-commerce and fintech services and the main global partner of FC Barcelona and the UK’s Draper Esprit Plc led the financing, and were joined by global investors Thomvest Ventures, Emery Capital, Rubicon Venture Capital, Talis Capital and the company’s founder. PremFina is the first premium finance company in the UK to receive venture funding, with the equity portion of round more than three times oversubscribed. The investment will be used to accelerate PremFina’s UK operations to meet a high demand for its white-label premium financing solution among insurance brokers and support international expansion. Its white label offering improves brokers’ efficiency, profitability and customer relationships. PremFina makes the purchase of insurance more affordable by eliminating the financial strain of lump-sum upfront payments, thereby promoting financial inclusion within the insurance industry. Its solution is simple and user-friendly: PremFina funds the upfront payment of an insurance premium to an insurer, on behalf on an insured party. PremFina then collects the same amount via monthly instalments, along with a finance fee, from the insured party. To better enable insurance brokers to offer this option, PremFina also provides a standalone, white-labelled software-as-a-service (SaaS). “The participation of outstanding investors from Toronto to Tokyo in our oversubscribed round highlights the vast opportunity ahead for PremFina, ” said Bundeep Singh Rangar, CEO and founder of PremFina, who invested in 17% of the equity portion alongside the institutional investors. “Our new investors bring great strategic value and priceless global financial relationships.” “Premium financing is an industry that’s been crying out for innovation. The incumbents have remained largely unchallenged due to age-old barriers to entry, such as the lack of funding for insurance start-ups, costs and time of regulatory compliance and significant investment in technological capability needed to meaningfully enter the market. Consequently, insurtech has lagged behind other areas of fintech in terms of innovation. PremFina has overcome these barriers and is now poised for growth,” Rangar added. “Rakuten sees outstanding growth potential in PremFina’s business model of promoting insurance inclusion and providing access to affordable insurance,” said Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, Managing Partner at Rakuten Capital. “We are excited to support the growth of PremFina’s innovative business in the UK and internationally.” “PremFina has built a strong SaaS revenue model with excellent growth opportunities,“ said Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit. “With its innovative offering increasing efficiency in the insurance industry model, PremFina ticks all the insurtech boxes. We are excited to help them dominate the market in the next few years.” The equity round was led by Rakuten Capital, the investment arm of Rakuten, Inc., a global innovation company and Japan's leader in e-commerce and fintech services that has invested in ride-sharing companies Lyft, Cabify and Careem as well as app-based micro-investor Acorns and online lending companies Upstart and Kreditech. The round was co-led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Draper’s UK affiliate Draper Esprit. California-based Draper was an early investor in telecoms company Skype, electric carmaker Tesla, rocket company SpaceX, Chinese search engine Baidu and email provider Hotmail. Thomvest Ventures, an early investor in peer-to-peer lender LendingClub, small business lender Kabbage, and student finance provider Social Finance, Inc., joined PremFina’s equity round.  Thomvest augmented its PremFina investment with a credit facility to fund PremFina premium finance agreements. Worldwide insurance penetration, measured as the percentage of gross written premiums against a country’s GDP, dropped 1.3% to 6.2% from 7.5% in the decade to 2015, according to London-based professional services firm EY. This drop occurred even as governments in many countries announced financial inclusion to be a key national policy objective. PremFina aims to reverse this trend by making personal and commercial insurance more affordable worldwide.