Draper Esprit to invest up to 75 mln pounds in European seed funds

Draper Esprit said Oct. 16 that it will seek to invest up to 75 million pounds ($100 million) in top seed funds across Europe over a five-year period. The VC firm has already committed to invest in the funds of Seedcamp and Episode1 Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE
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 Episode1 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 Episode1 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.”