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Expansion of Management Team: welcoming Martin Davis

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This announcement can be read in full on RNS here.

Draper Esprit (AIM: GROW, ESM: GRW), a leading venture capital firm investing in high‐growth digital technology businesses, announces the expansion of its management team and trading update ahead of its interim results for the period ended 30 September 2019 on 26 November.

Management team expansion: Director Appointment

Following a period of significant development since Draper Esprit's successful 2016 IPO, the Group today announces an addition to its senior leadership team to support further growth.

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Karen Slatford (Chairman), Simon Cook (CIO) and Martin Davis (CEO)

Following a rigorous and wide-ranging selection process, Martin Davis joins the Company today as Chief Executive Officer, while current CEO and co-Founder Simon Cook will become Chief Investment Officer.

Together with Stuart Chapman, co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, and Ben Wilkinson, Chief Financial Officer, the enhanced senior leadership team will continue to implement the Company's strategy of providing investors with access to the best private technology companies in Europe, further democratising venture capital for shareholders while empowering entrepreneurs to invent the future.

Martin has more than 20 years' experience in financial services and technology and was most recently CEO of investment management business Kames Capital.

Prior to joining Kames, he was CEO at Cofunds, the largest adviser platform for financial intermediaries in the market, which he joined after eight years at Zurich Insurance Group, where he ran the International and Global Emerging Markets life businesses. He was also CEO of Zurich's joint venture, Openwork, a network of financial advice firms. 

Prior to this, Martin held senior management roles at fintech business Misys, online banking business Corillian and data business Reuters.  He was originally an officer in the Royal Irish Rangers.

In his role as Chief Investment Officer, Simon Cook will lead the investment team, continuing to seek out fast growing, private digital technology businesses with global potential from across Europe, in line with the Company's decade long track record of generating 20%+ net returns.

Further disclosures in relation to Mr Davis' appointment in accordance with paragraph (g) of Schedule Two of the AIM and Euronext Growth Rules for Companies are set out below.

AIM and Euronext Growth Rule disclosures

The Company makes the following disclosures in relation to Mr Davis' appointment in accordance with paragraph (g) of Schedule Two of the AIM and the Euronext Growth Rules for Companies:

1.         Director's full name:      Martin Michael Arthur Davis

Director's age:                 57 years

2            Other directorships/partnerships held during the last five years:

Kames Capital plc

Kames Capital Management Limited

Kames Capital Holdings Limited

Aegon Asset Management (NL)

Aegon Asset Management (Asia)

[Aegon Corporate Services Limited

Aegon UK Services Limited

La Banque Postale Asset Management (Fra)

Mr Davis is no longer a director of any of these companies.

3.            Shareholding: Mr Davis does not hold any shares in the Company.

4.          Other information: There is no other information required to be disclosed in relation to Mr Davis under paragraph (g) of Schedule Two of the AIM and Euronext Growth Rules for Companies.

Karen Slatford, Chairman, said;

"Martin brings extremely relevant experience and strategic thinking at large companies within the Financial Services sector, as well as in emerging technology companies.  His appointment and Simon's new role as CIO will build on the momentum evident in our continued strong performance and add firepower as we seek to scale our business further.  Trading has remained in line with the guidance we gave at our AGM and we are once again set to deliver the stated objective of a portfolio return of 20% per annum for the full year."

Martin Davis said;

Draper Esprit's reputation for helping high quality technology companies is unparalleled and I look forward to working with Simon and the wider team as I focus on building the infrastructure to accelerate the growth of the business. With companies staying private for longer, our role in helping to democratise venture capital and provide our shareholders with access to high growth technology companies is more important now than ever before.  Generating value for our shareholders while helping the very best entrepreneurs to secure the right capital to grow their businesses is central to this approach, and I am tremendously excited to be joining Draper Esprit to lead the team in the next stage of our development."

Simon Cook added;

"We often advise our companies that they need additional management skills for new phases of growth so it's only fitting that we follow our own advice. Investing in technology startups is my great passion and I am excited by the prospect of focusing on our investment activity in depth as CIO. Now is a good time to enhance our management team to build on our status as Europe's most active in the venture capital asset class.  Martin's unique experience in both technology and building highly scalable financial services companies will help enable us to scale Draper Esprit to reach new heights."