Draper Esprit will put up to £75m in leading tech seed funds, starting with Transferwise backer Seedcamp and Zoopla investor Episode1

Lucy White
Many of Seedcamp and Episode1's previous investments have become household names (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Listed venture capital firm Draper Esprit announced today that it will put up to £75m over the next five years in some of Europe's top tech seed funds.

It has already invested in crowdfunding companies Crowdcube and Seedrs, and today announced it would be writing cheques for the latest funds of Transferwise backer Seedcamp and Zoopla investor Episode1 Ventures.

This is the first time that Draper Esprit, which itself has backed companies such as Graze and LoveFilm, will take a position in another firm's fund – otherwise known as being a “fund of funds”.

Read more: Graze's venture capital backer Draper Esprit publishes first results since its float showing £33m profit

“Our mission to democratise the venture capital model continues,” said Draper Esprit's chief executive Simon Cook.

“Our plan is to create a significant fund-of-funds business, which will target investment in 10 to 20 seed funds, angel networks and early stage investment platforms over the coming years.”

As well as the two investments announced today, Draper Esprit is currently looking at three more.

The new strategy could well be filling a gap left by the European Investment Fund (EIF). Since the Brexit vote last year, UK-based venture capital firms have complained that the EIF has pulled back from making commitments to their funds.

The EIF told City A.M. that it is theoretically still open to investing in the UK, but must complete further due diligence to assess the potential impacts of Brexit before it can go ahead.

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“Post-Brexit, it is imperative that UK investors continue to have access to the best early stage investment opportunities – and 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,” said Cook.

Draper Esprit's core strategy is to invest up to £100m in technology businesses at series A, B and C-plus rounds from its own balance sheet and its Enterprise Investment Scheme, venture capital trust and secondary funds.

Read more: Draper Esprit gets retro leading an $18.5m funding round in the word-of-mouth ticket seller for Bestival and Reading Festival

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