Draper Esprit

UK VC fund Draper Esprit has announced a strategic partnership with Earlybird, a German venture capital fund.

As a result of the agreement, Draper Esprit and Earlybird will share dealflow, funds and expertise to co-invest in startups across Europe.

Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit, which went public in June 2016, told UKTN: “The strategic partnership with Earlybird Ventures Digital West enables us to scale our operations across Europe.

“This allows our team based in London and Cambridge to focus on building the best relationships with UK entrepreneurs.

“It also now exposes UK investors to the growth that is happening in the German market through a team who have worked in that market for over 20 years and are the very best at what they do. London remains at the centre of the European VC market and we are still very committed to UK entrepreneurs.”

Together, Draper and Earlybird have the equivalent of a $1.3bn fund and a portfolio of more than 100 business including UK firms Revolut, Graze, Transferwise and Graphcore.

Additionally, Draper has invested an initial €18m (£16m) in the latest Earlybird Fund VI and committed to invest a further c.€17m (£15m) per annum over the next four years in the fund.

Hendrik Brandis, co‐founder of Earlybird, commented on the news: “Earlybird has built a leading VC position in continental Europe, and Draper Esprit has an exceptionally strong position in the UK, Ireland and increasingly across Europe.

“Earlybird has significant backing from mostly institutional private investors, and Draper Esprit has managed to very successfully access public capital markets, funds which we can co‐invest alongside. We believe this creates a very strong partnership of significant scale with many potential benefits for all parties – whether entrepreneurs, investors and our respective firms.”

Simon Cook, CEO and co‐founder of Draper Esprit, added:”We have worked with the Earlybird partners as co‐investors and industry members for many years and have huge respect for the leading VC position they have built in Germany and across continental Europe. With our resources combined as genuine partners we will be able to help European entrepreneurs scale their global ambitions even higher. Together with our recent placing to raise £115m, and strong financial performance reported in our recently announced results, this strategic partnership builds on the significant momentum we are achieving.”