Draper Esprit armed with £160m to take tech start-ups global

6 Jun 2017

Brexit. Image: Delpixel/Shutterstock

Brexit breeds fear into many people’s minds, though it provides an opportunity for many others. Draper Esprit is hoping to tap into the latter.

An oversubscribed funding call by Draper Esprit has seen £100m (€115m) raised by the VC firm to invest in “forward-thinking and innovative businesses”.

This, added to another, separate £60m (€69m) fund, means Draper is ready to move on UK and Irish companies, despite political uncertainty.

These will be technology companies in general, with Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit, claiming the upheaval around Brexit should not dissuade companies in the UK and Ireland – quite the contrary.

“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,” he said.

Cook thinks the UK can “continue to play a significant role” in European VC terms, with his organisation dual-listed in the UK and Ireland.

Meanwhile, in the US, department store Target has put a rumoured $75m into mattress start-up Casper.

Valued at anything from $500m up in recent months, Casper was reportedly at the centre of an acquisition bid by Target already this year, though the rumoured $1bn deal never surfaced.

The company offers trials as long as 100 nights for mattresses, sheets and pillows, with its success in part down to its modern marketing techniques, using social media and pop-up projects to get its name out there.

“Target invested in Casper because we believe in their team, their ideas and their vision for reimagining sleep,” said Target.

What’s interesting about this deal is that Amazon, the leading retailer in US online circles, has specifically moved away from buying such ‘single-use’ companies.

For example, Amazon spent $545m on Quidsi a few years ago, specifically going after its Diapers.com and Soap.com businesses. However, failing to turn a profit, it shut them down earlier this year. Target will be hoping Amazon got that one wrong.

“The strategic partnership offers Casper access to an established retail brand and gives Target an opportunity to work with a future-focused digital brand that is exploring an area that is meaningful for our guests – sleep and wellness. We’re looking forward to exploring the future together,” said Target.

In Europe, French start-up Clustree raised €7m in Series A funding, with Creandum, Idinvest Partners and Alven Capital involved, according to Techcrunch.

Clustree is one of a growing number of start-ups working in the HR space, aiming to help employees and companies work out better ways to hire and move jobs within a company.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic