UK VC firm Draper Esprit backs Seedcamp and Episode 1 Ventures

Draper Esprit

UK venture capital firm Draper Esprit has invested in Seedcamp, a backer of tech startups including Transferwise; and Episode 1 Ventures, which invested in Zoopla, Lovefilm and Betfair.

The move is part of Draper Esprit’s wider strategy to invest up to £75m in top Seed funds across Europe over the next five years. Additionally, the London-based VC firm will continue to invest approximately £100m a year in technology companies at Series A, B and C+ rounds.

Today’s news comes after UK VCs aired concerns about a potential funding freeze from the European Investment Fund (EIF) in the aftermath of last year’s Brexit referendum.

Reshma Sohoni, co-founder and managing partner of Seedcamp commented: “At Seedcamp there is a key ingredient of our model that gives us a performance edge. That ingredient is our LPs and we choose them carefully. We strive to bring on experienced Angels, top-tier VCs, active corporates and knowledgeable family offices and Fund of Funds around the table.

“With Draper, we are thrilled to get a double combination – both a top-notch VC who will be able to invest at Series A and beyond in our companies and is a fund of funds business with relationships we can benefit from. We are honoured to be one of the first investments from their new fund of funds.”

Simon Murdoch, managing partner of Episode 1, went on to say: “We’ve known Draper Esprit for many years and are excited to be working with them again. As a leading Seed fund our role is to find and accelerate UK startups helping them to become the sort of rapidly growing businesses that Draper Esprit want to invest in and grow to global success stories.”

Simon Cook, CEO at Draper Esprit, which has also backed crowdfunding platforms Seedrs and Crowdcube, added: “By partnering with the best Seed funds, we can help them scale up their series A and B funding rounds more quickly, which in turn will accelerate growth for the most ambitious entrepreneurs.

“We have a number of pools of capital to back leading entrepreneurs and to deploy across the different funding life cycles of fast-growing technology companies.  External investors both institutional and private can use our evergreen listed venture capital model to access, on a pooled basis, the top Seed funding platforms, screened and picked by our experienced team.  This gives them exposure to a very important asset class on a pooled portfolio approach; giving a degree of risk mitigation, with added liquidity and without them having to sift through and pick individual seed funds themselves.”

Cook also highlighted the need for UK investors to continue having access to the early-stage investment opportunities post-Brexit.

“Having established itself as a leading hub for technology entrepreneurs from all over the world, the UK needs to keep supporting all stages of venture funding. Draper Esprit is building a business of scale, partnering with leading institutional and private investors, to support and benefit from high growth private technology companies across Europe,” he concluded.

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