DFJ Esprit marks ‘most active’ year with pledge to take more start-ups global

Posted by DFJ Esprit, 21 Aug 2014
  • DFJ Esprit’s 2013 deal-flow marked it out as one of Europe’s most active venture capital investors, as it completed one deal every two weeks across the continent
  • Pace continues in 2014 with Kana exit to Verint in a $514m deal and $110m (£69m) IPO of Horizon Discovery

April 2014: Venture capital firm DFJ Esprit continues to be one of the leaders in backing European tech start-ups and growth companies, and its recent deal flow has never been stronger.
DFJ Esprit has completed twenty two investments in total across some of Europe’s most exciting technology companies over the past year – almost one deal every two weeks.

Alongside this impressive deal flow, it has also got off to a flying start in 2014 with the $514m exit of Kana Software Inc. to Verint, which follows the cash and stock sale of portfolio company Lagan Technologies to Kana in 2010.

It has also recently celebrated the £69m AIM IPO of portfolio healthcare company Horizon Discovery. This followed the November flotation of medical technology business Oxford Immunotech – the only IPO of a UK business on NASDAQ last year.

DFJ Esprit’s most recent investments have been in ecommerce and adtech, and it remains one of Europe’s few VCs that backs “deep technology” companies as well, including the most exciting technologies in the emerging “Internet of Things” space.

The VC firm is also capitalising on the strength of the Nordic tech scene, having recently invested in Finnish companies Mfiles and Bitbar, disruptive Swedish digital marketing company Campanja and leading Danish review site, Trustpilot. 

The $25m (£15m) Trustpilot deal was co-led by DFJ Esprit in Europe and DFJ in the US. 

DFJ Esprit is leveraging the DFJ Global Network for all its portfolio companies to support their global expansion. In particular, the fund’s connections to DFJ in the US, which is renowned for backing the likes Skype, Tesla and Box, has helped to launch its portfolio companies in the pivotal USA market. For example, snacks-by-post business Graze launched in the US last December and has enjoyed strong growth there.
Simon Cook, managing partner at DFJ Esprit, said: “It’s an extremely exciting time for us. Our deal-flow is the strongest it’s ever been and we’re making investments in some fantastic companies. In the final quarter of 2013, we made our highest number of investments ever in a single quarter and in Trustpilot, we showed our unique UK-US funding combination.  Already 2014 has got off to a storming start, too.”

Mr Cook added: “Europe has amazing, world class technology in many industries such as Financial-tech, Advertising-tech, E-commerce, and Health.  Many of the companies which start in Europe can be world leaders with the right backing. This is our goal – to make investments which are transformational for our portfolio companies”.

Throughout 2014, DFJ Esprit will build on other recent work, such as its new EIS fund for private investors and the publication of an EIS term-sheet in partnership with the BVCA, which will help angels and VCs work more closely and invest together.