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Draper Esprit PLC (GROW)


Monday 26 October, 2020

Draper Esprit PLC

Investment update

RNS Number : 1229D
Draper Esprit PLC
26 October 2020

26 October


Draper Esprit plc


("Draper Esprit", "the Group" or the "Company")


Investment update


Draper Esprit (LSE: GROW, Euronext Growth: GRW), a leading venture capital firm investing in and developing high growth digital technology businesses, today provides an update on recent developments in its portfolio.




Draper Esprit co-led the $50m Series B fundraising announced today by PrimaryBid, a technology platform that allows retail investors fair access to public companies raising capital. OMERS and London Stock Exchange Group co-led the round, alongside Fidelity, and existing investors Pentech and Outward VC among others.


Founded in 2015, PrimaryBid enables retail investors to participate in new equity issuances on the same terms as institutional investors, creating a more democratised access to public markets. Through a long-term agreement with London Stock Exchange, it has created a platform to seamlessly connect retail investors with public companies. To date PrimaryBid has been involved in 90 issuances on the London markets, including offerings by companies like Compass Group, Ocado, Taylor Wimpey and William Hill.


This investment will help PrimaryBid to further widen access to public equity issuances. This is Draper Esprit's first investment in PrimaryBid, and forms part of Draper Esprit's wider investment thesis to widen retail investor access to public markets and drive sweeping changes to markets infrastructure driven by new technology. Draper Esprit's previous investments include Crowdcube (access to equity crowdfunding) and Freetrade (access to trading listed stocks and ETFs), as well as financial infrastructure companies like Form3, Ravelin and Thought Machine. Draper Esprit's own decision to list its shares on AIM in 2016 has resulted in greater access for the public markets investor to high growth digital technology businesses which increasingly choose to list later.




In September, ICEYE, a World-leading Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR) data provider building and operating its own commercial constellation of radar imaging satellites, announced that it had raised $87 million in a Series C funding round earlier in the year. ICEYE is a Draper Esprit core portfolio company.


Draper Esprit invested as part of that round alongside other returning shareholders led by True Ventures and including cornerstone investor OTB Ventures, together with Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi), DNX Ventures, Draper Associates, Seraphim Capital, Promus Ventures and Space Angels.


With the company's unique satellite constellation capabilities, ICEYE empowers others to make better decisions in governmental and commercial industries. Given the unprecedented frequency and scale of climate driven changes in the weather, crop patterns, fires, urban living and human activities, there is a critical immediate need for real-time information and data access on a global scale. This access can be used to save lives during humanitarian and disaster response situations, and for economic decision-making during moments of crisis.


ICEYE intends to use this financing round to continue accelerating the growth of its SAR satellite constellation, increasing data availability for all continents through 24/7 customer operations, continuing the development of ground-breaking radar imaging capabilities, and for establishing manufacturing capabilities in the US.


As reflected in Draper Esprit's annual results in June 2020, the fair value holding in ICEYE increased at that time by approximately £6.4 million as a result of the fundraising to approximately £14 million.


Martin Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Draper Esprit, commented:


"PrimaryBid embodies the spirit of open access capital markets, something Draper Esprit is committed to supporting. ICEYE is a company that shows the value of long term support for deep-tech businesses. It is important that our partners keep identifying and adding exciting new companies to the portfolio and backing those already in it. We look forward to deploying the proceeds of our recent placing to accelerate our rate of investment and announcing many more such updates."


Vinoth Jayakumar, Partner at Draper Esprit, commented:


"PrimaryBid is a meaningful investment for Draper Esprit. We are supporting a business which is opening up investment in public equity issuance to retail investors. This has the potential to help revitalise public market investment just as we seek to do, in our case by providing the public market investor with access to high growth technology businesses more commonly available only to the private company investors today.


"With ICEYE we are following our earlier investment and we are impressed with the progress it is making. The ICEYE founders have built a world class team which enables them to execute against their plan of launching and maintaining a constellation of micro-satellites around the world."





Draper Esprit plc

Martin Davis (Chief Executive Officer)

Ben Wilkinson (Chief Financial Officer)

+44 (0)20 7931 8800

Numis Securities

Nominated Adviser & Joint Broker

Simon Willis

Richard Thomas

Jamie Loughborough

+44 (0)20 7260 1000

Goodbody Stockbrokers

Euronext Growth Adviser & Joint Broker

Don Harrington

Charlotte Craigie

Dearbhla Gallagher

+44 (0) 20 3841 6202


Public relations

Elly Williamson

Donjeta Miftari

+44 (0)20 7250 1446



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