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 (www.seedcamp.com) and Episode 1 Ventures (www.episode1.com), 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.”


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 www.draperesprit.com

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 www.seedcamp.com

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 www.episode1.com