Draper Esprit Adds £160 Million to Finance European Tech Companies

Draper Esprit (AIM: GROW, ESM: GRW) has raised £100 million via new and existing investors. The listed VC said a further £60m in new capital has been raised via their EIS, VCT and secondary co-investment funds which invest alongside their PLC. The additional capital, totaling £160 million, will be used to “take European tech companies global.” The issue price was 324 pence per share by way of the conditional placing of 25,912,346 new Ordinary Shares and a subscription of 4,951,851 new Ordinary Shares.

Draper Esprit raised £153 million during 2016 from their IPO2, EIS and VCT funds and the cash realisations available for reinvestment within their portfolio.

Institutional investors included Invesco Perpetual and Hargreave Hale, as shareholders who join existing investors, among others, Woodford Investment Management, Baillie Gifford and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.

Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit, released a statement in light of the new funding expressing his confidence in the UK and Europe in general following the Brexit decision;

“Much has been written about the uncertain future that British VC fundraising faces in the wake of Brexit.  At Draper Esprit we believe our industry can find new investors and that the UK can continue to play a significant role in leading the wider European VC market.”

Cook explained that as a permanent capital listed VC (UK/Ireland) they can access public markets as well as private giving them greater capacity and flexibility. Cook said they are seeing increasing innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe, especially in enterprise software, digital hardware, consumer services and digital health, and will continue to invest in these areas.

Cook predicted that if they continue at the same rate over the next five years they will have the equivalent of £800 million to deploy filling a much needed gap in the market post Brexit.

“We invest in forward-thinking and innovative businesses and firmly believe that the best entrepreneurs in Europe are capable of building world leading technology companies when provided with patient, long term growth capital, access to global networks and support from an experienced investment team,” said Cook. “Furthermore, we believe that all investors large and small should have access to the venture capital asset class. By democratising the venture capital model and making our expertise accessible to a wider, broader market we are breaking new ground in the VC market and this Placing and Subscription is a superb validation of that model.”

Draper Esprit has also been active in the crowdfunding space having invested in several investments listed on various UK platforms.  Draper Esprit is one of the most active VCs in Europe.


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