Draper Esprit’s start-up portfolio value surpasses €1bn

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The Dublin and London VC firm has lined up a ‘strong deal pipeline’ to invest in new and existing portfolio companies.

Venture capital firm Draper Esprit expects its portfolio to be valued at more than €1bn as it prepares its full-year report.

The firm, which is dual listed in Dublin and London, said in a trading update today (26 April) that its gross portfolio value is “expected to be not less” than £955m, or about €1.1bn. This is up from £703m the year prior. The firm will be publishing its full-year report in June.

Draper Esprit invested in both early and later-stage deals over the last year amid the pandemic, including backing younger companies like quantum computing start-up Riverlane and last week it led a $60m Series B investment in Romania’s FintechOS.

It has invested in Cazoo, the online marketplace for second-hand cars that recently went public on the New York Stock Exchange through a blank-cheque company merger. It was also a backer of automation tech start-up UiPath, which went public through an IPO last week to much fanfare.

Last summer, the firm sold off the last of its stake in TransferWise, meaning it will miss out on the company’s expected IPO soon.

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“The market for tech company investments has been exceptionally strong since the pandemic, highlighting the importance of technology to many aspects of our future,” Draper Esprit chief executive Martin Davis said.

“It is gratifying to see the results of our long-term investments continuing to be demonstrated by portfolio value and realisations. We have been able to maximise our realisations and, alongside our capital raise, have been able to reinvest them into the next generation of opportunities.”

Last October, the firm raised a fresh £110m to further invest in companies. It said in its trading update that it had a “strong deal pipeline” with more than £50m worth of deals approved by its investment committee and another £75m at the ready for investing.

“When we raised funds in October, we set goals to increase our investment cadence significantly, to capture more investment opportunities and take larger stakes in our established winners,” Davis added.

“All of which we have achieved. We look forward to strengthening the portfolio further to enable us to outperform throughout the cycle.”