Draper Esprit’s portfolio now worth more than €1bn

14 Jun 2021

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The venture capital firm, which invests in European companies, has significantly ramped up its investment pace in the last year.

Draper Esprit, the Dublin and London-listed venture capital firm, now has more than €1bn in assets under management according to its annual report.

The report, covering the year ended 31 March 2021, shows that the firm now has a gross portfolio value of £984m (€1.1bn), up more than £280m from the year before.

It had cash realisations of £206m with £267m in profit after tax.

Draper Esprit invested some £128m over the 12-month period, mostly in Series B rounds in companies at the growth and early-stage growth phases. Of that money, £51m was invested in new companies, with £34m in follow-on investments and £43m in fund of funds.

It led rounds in companies like quantum computing outfit Riverlane and contributed to Freetrade’s bumper round. Investment activity particularly ramped up in the second half of the year.

The firm also had some noteworthy exits including the public listing of online car marketplace Cazoo and selling its stake in Wise, the former TransferWise.

The report covers Martin Davis’ first full year as chief executive of Draper Esprit, all while the economic shocks of Covid-19 were being felt.

“Despite market shock in the first half, our scale and maturity gave us room to focus on the needs of our portfolio companies and structuring ourselves for growth,” Davis said.

“Our close relationship to our portfolio and industry insight enabled us to accelerate into the digital transformation catalysed by the pandemic. Our investment team increased its cadence in the second half, deploying significant funds into existing portfolio companies and new, as intended when we raised equity in October.”

Draper Esprit’s investing pace hasn’t slowed down as it entered its next fiscal year, investing in significant rounds in drone delivery player Manna and French crypto hardware firm Ledger.

“We look to the future with confidence that our model positions us well for opportunities in a transformed world,” Davis added.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin