Saturday, June 03, 2017

A UK VC has shrugged off Brexit and raised £160 million to invest in tech startups
Draper Esprit management team
Draper EspritDraper Esprit management team, with CEO Simon Cook on the far right.

Venture capital firm Draper Esprit has raised a further £160 million to invest in European startups , shrugging off concerns that Brexit has made it harder for UK VCs to raise significant amounts of capital.

The dual-listed investment firm announced on Friday that it has raised £100 million on the London and Dublin stock exchanges. That complements an additional £60 million that it has raised through 2017 via other sources including the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), the Venture Capital Trust (VCT), and secondary co-investment funds.

The fresh capital will be invested into startups across Europe (particularly Western Europe) through the course of 2017, Draper Esprit said.

Notably, all of the new capital was raised without the help of the £2 billion European Investment Fund (EIF), which has recently stopped supporting UK VC firms as a result of Brexit.

Simon Cook, CEO at Draper Esprit, said in a statement: “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.

“As a permanent capital listed company, dual-listed in the UK and Ireland, we can access public markets by offering a partnership model with investors who wouldn’t otherwise have access to, or the capacity to actively manage, these type of investments; as well as reinvesting our realisations from exits into the next generation of tech businesses each year without the need to raise a new fixed life private fund every 5 years.”

Founded in 2006, Draper Esprit has backed European startups including Graze, Trustpilot, Clue, Graphcore, Pushdoctor, and Perkbox.

Draper Esprit plans to use its funds to invest in startups at all stages, especially those focusing on enterprise software, digital hardware, consumer services, and digital health.


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