Woodford and other fintech bulls fund new £160m Brexit tech war chest

By Daniel Lanyon on Monday 5 June 2017

Alternative LendingSavings and Investment

A leading venture capital firm has completed new round of fund raising to take advantage of European-wide opportunities across the technology sector.

A leading venture capital firm has completed new  round of fund raising to take advantage of European-wide opportunities across the technology sector.

Draper Esprit has raised a further £100m from an over-subscribed a share placing round from institutional investors aimed at investing in European tech opportunities post Brexit.

The fund, which invests in early and growth stage digital businesses across Europe, has major insititional shareholders including Woodford Investment Management, Baillie Gifford and the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund as well Invesco Perpetual and Hargreave Hale. The latter two are new investors in the latest round whereas the others have backed the fund since its IPO in 2015.

Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit says as the Brexit process unfolds the firm is seeing increasing numbers of opportunities in the space.

"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,” he said.

"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," he said.

The investment trust and its wider group have also raised significant co-investment funds through EIS, VCT and secondary funds, with £60m raised in 2017 to date.

Cook added: “We are seeing increasing innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe, especially in enterprise software, digital hardware, consumer services and digital health, and our funds will be used to continue investing in these areas from series A, B and beyond, with 70 per cent. of our capital reserved for scaling-up and increasing our stakes in existing portfolio companies through later rounds.”

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