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Draper Esprit PLC (GROW)


Monday 11 January, 2021

Draper Esprit PLC

Investment update

RNS Number : 2132L
Draper Esprit PLC
11 January 2021

11th January 2021


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.


Key highlights are as follows:

· Draper Esprit continues to experience strong business momentum

· Delivering on its stated objective to deploy further capital by leading rounds in high growth technology investments at Series B onwards

· Investments comprise a mix of new portfolio companies and follow on into high growth opportunities in the existing portfolio

· £56 million invested in 11 investments since 30th September 2020 (£32 million invested to half year)



Draper Esprit has undertaken 11 investments since its half year results, including the following:




In December 2020, Draper Esprit participated with a $14 million investment in a Series E funding round in Graphcore, maker of the Intelligence Processing Unit ("IPU"), which raised a total of $222 million. Graphcore is one of Draper Esprit's largest holdings in the core portfolio having been an investor from its earliest days. The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board led the round alongside other new investors Fidelity International and Schroders. Draper Esprit invested with existing investors including Baillie Gifford. Following the round, Graphcore is now valued at $2.77 billion.


Graphcore's IPU is the world's most sophisticated microprocessor, designed for next-generation artificial intelligence workloads. Having launched its Mk2 IPU products in 2020, Graphcore plans to use the investment to drive further global expansion and accelerate future product developments. For many AI training and inference tasks, IPU systems significantly outperform the latest GPU-based systems.


Draper Esprit's fair value holding in Graphcore increased by approximately £17 million as a result of the fundraising to approximately £108 million (including the new capital invested).




Also in December 2020, Draper Esprit invested $14 million as lead investor in a $30m investment round into new portfolio company CoachHub, a digital coaching platform. The round was supported by HV Capital, Partech, Speedinvest, signals Venture Capital and RTP Global, and brings the total funds raised by CoachHub to $50 million.


CoachHub, based in Germany, is a platform for personalised, measurable and scalable coaching programs that uses AI to match individuals to business coaches. Since its foundation it has created a global network of more than 1,000 certified coaches across six continents, making it the fastest growing company in the sector. The company will use the funds to accelerate its growth in the market with plans to add an additional 1,000 coaches to its network and make 120 new hires across Europe, Asia and the US taking their team to 300. They also plan to develop the "Coaching Lab", which uses machine learning technology and business intelligence to drive behaviour research and development in the field of coaching and offers expert contributions and tools to support the development of employees.




In November 2020, Draper Esprit led with a £12 million (including £5 million from EIS/VCT funds) investment as part of a £15 million investment round into existing portfolio company Endomag, a breast cancer market leader and one of the UK's fastest growing private technology businesses. The Series D round was supported by other existing investors including Sussex Place Ventures, among others, and follows on from Draper Esprit's initial lead in Endomag's 2018 Series C round.


Endomag's technologies use non-invasive magnetic sensing to locate and stage breast cancer and have helped over 130,000 women across the world receive more precise and less invasive cancer treatment. The funds from the round are earmarked for expanding access to new advanced techniques enabled by its products, such as targeted axillary dissection (TAD) and delayed sentinel lymph node biopsy (dSLNB). The funds will also be used to scale its product offering, market reach and employees.  Endomag continues to invest significantly in research and development and, in 2021, is due to launch its next generation Sentimag® platform, as well as new Magseed® products.


It is anticipated that Endomag will join the core portfolio in the 31st March 2021 year-end reporting period.




In December 2020, Draper Esprit led a £5 million investment round in AGORA, a London-based startup disrupting the beauty industry through social commerce. Lakestar and Angel Capital Management also participated in the round alongside some other existing investors.


AGORA is an app that allows beauty fans to monetise their talent by creating and sharing video content that links directly to products from their favourite beauty brands. The company was co-founded by Riccardo Basile and Elizabeth Craft Townsend-Rose, who were part of the founding team of the multi-billion dollar e-commerce platform Lazada which is now owned by Alibaba. Soft launched in April 2020, AGORA already has 50,000 registered users on the app, mostly organically acquired, and content creators have produced in excess of 50,000 videos to date.  


Having successfully launched its first social commerce trial last month, this investment will help AGORA scale social selling and build its commerce features, allowing global and independent brands to launch flagship stores on the platform. The platform is currently UK-only, however the business is looking to expand into Europe in 2021.


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


"When we announced our successful placing in October 2020 we communicated that we were looking to accelerate our investment strategy and increase our rate of investment, including through follow on opportunities within the portfolio. Benefitting from additional capital, our ability to lead investment rounds and back Europe's best high growth investment opportunities has been reinforced. The activity in recent months clearly supports the execution of this strategy and we continue to push for new opportunities into 2021. Graphcore and Endomag are fantastic examples of how Draper Esprit's public model allows us to make follow on investments into some of our outstanding, scaling portfolio companies. CoachHub and AGORA are both exciting new investments, which demonstrate the depth of the dealflow network we are able to harness. We continue to see significant opportunity in both follow on and new investments across our four target sectors."







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)7970 246 725 /

+44 (0)7961 628 862


About Draper Esprit


Draper Esprit is one of the most active venture capital firms in Europe, investing in disruptive, high growth technology companies. We believe the best entrepreneurs in Europe are capable of building the global businesses of the future. We fuel their growth with long-term capital, access to international networks and decades of experience building businesses.


Currently, Draper Esprit is a shareholder in a diverse portfolio of 67 companies with 15 of those part of our core portfolio which accounts for over 60% of our holdings. Our core companies include Trustpilot, UiPath, Aircall, Graphcore and Revolut. We invest across four sectors: Consumer Technology, Enterprise Technology, Hardware and Deeptech, and Digital Health and Wellness, with highly experienced partners constantly looking for new opportunities in each. We look for high-growth companies with strong IP, powerful technology, and the management teams to deliver success. They operate in new markets, with serious potential for global expansion. We also look for businesses with the potential to generate strong margins to ensure rapid, sustainable growth in substantial addressable markets.


Draper Esprit provides an opportunity for public market investors to access these fast-growing tech businesses, without having to commit to long term investments with limited liquidity. Since IPO in June 2016, we have deployed circa £450m+ capital into fast growing technology companies and have realised over £210m. In October 2020 we raised gross proceeds of circa £110m to help us capitalise on a European VC market which is expanding rapidly but is still less than one quarter of the combined size of the US and European market by value. It will also allow us to capitalise on the transition to a digital future that has been given added impetus as a result of the recent pandemic.


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