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Draper Esprit teams up with Earlybird on tech investment

LONDON (Reuters) – London-based venture capital firm Draper Esprit said on Wednesday it had teamed up with its German peer Earlybird to co-invest in high growth technology companies across Europe.

Draper Esprit CEO and co-founder Simon Cook said he wanted to build a large pan-European investment group that gave both financial and retail investors access to growth opportunities in the tech sector, where other VCs were running 10-year plus private funds with large minimum ticket sizes.

“Our ambition is to build something of significant scale in the marketplace,” he said in an interview.

The groups will deploy up to 200 million euros ($232.80 million) a year in investments in both early and later stage funding rounds for technology companies, he said.

Draper Esprit’s focus on Britain and Ireland would be complemented by Earlybird’s strength in Germany and the Nordics, he said, with each region accounting for around a third of the total opportunities in Europe.

“Earlybird has a similar investment approach; we try and find companies with big global ambitions in sectors like Fintech and digital health,” Cook said.

“We have investments in companies like Revolut and TransferWise in Fintech, they have got companies like N26 and Smava, which are the local leaders in those markets with international aspirations.”

Draper Esprit had also taken a significant stake in Earlybird’s new Digital West Early Stage fund VI, the company said, with an initial 18 million euro investment, which would be followed by investments of about 17 million euros a year until 2022.

Reporting by Paul Sandle, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise


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