Draper Esprit acquires Seedcamp Funds I and II for €20m

25 Oct 2017

Image: Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

New move will add European fintech TransferWise to Draper Esprit’s core portfolio.

Draper Esprit has revealed it is acquiring Seedcamp Funds I and II for €20m (£17.9m) as it pays greater attention to Europe’s seed funding market.

The move comes just a week after it emerged that the venture capital (VC) giant plans to invest more than €83m (£75m) in 20 seed funds across Europe over the next five years.

Seedcamp is an early investor in start-ups TransferWise and Revolut, while Draper Esprit is already an investor in two crowdfunding players, Crowdcube and Seedrs.

Seedcamp’s portfolio also includes Codacy, Edited, Erply, Fishbrain, Codility, Winnow, Codeship and Try.com. The seed fund’s last-reported asset value was €26.3m.

Draper Esprit’s European strategy

“Although principally a primary series A, B and C VC growth investor, we have also been very active over the years as a secondary tech investor in Europe, having acquired a number of well-known VC portfolios and increasingly taking large direct stakes in later-stage companies,” explained Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit.

“Together with our recently announced seed fund of funds strategy, we can offer long-term patient capital solutions for all European tech companies and their investors outside of the constraints of a typical 5-plus-5-year fund.

“We have a great relationship with Seedcamp and recently invested directly in their Seedcamp IV fund to give our investors access to seed-stage opportunities. This acquisition further bolsters our growing secondary business, and we are excited to work with a really good portfolio of European technology companies, including TransferWise, one of Europe’s most successful start-ups.”

TransferWise, which is used by consumers to transfer $1.2bn a month, has raised $117m from investors including Richard Branson and Max Levchin of PayPal, and funds such as Andreessen Horowitz and Valar Ventures.

Draper Esprit’s other core portfolio companies include: Trustpilot, Clavis Insight, SportPursuit, M-Files, Graze, Lyst, Conversocial, Push Doctor, Graphcore and Perkbox.

Last year, Draper Esprit raised £100m in a dual listing in Dublin and London. In June, the company revealed it had raised around £160m to invest in “forward-thinking and innovative” European businesses, despite Brexit fears.

“We see this as a great outcome working alongside experienced and knowledgeable investors who’ve supported us for many years,” said Seedcamp managing partner Carlos Eduardo Espinal.

“We are always looking at innovative ways to deliver exceptional returns to our LPs, and believe this transaction is a win-win for everyone involved. We look forward to continuing to work with the growing companies and founders from our first and second funds, with Draper’s added horsepower.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years