Source: Graze

Draper Raises $130 Million, Backs U.K. After Brexit

  • Aims to invest in high-growth digital companies across Europe
  • Brexit won’t push U.K. to the side of investing in Europe tech

Venture capitalists at London-based Draper Esprit Plc have raised 100 million pounds ($129 million) to invest in startups across Europe, saying Brexit won’t push the U.K. to the sidelines of technology investment in the region.

By issuing shares at 324 pence a piece, Draper, which backs companies including Graze, which delivers healthy snacks, and Movidius, a chipmaker, adds to the 60 million pounds it had raised so far this year and plans to invest in early and growth-stage digital businesses.
 
Draper’s shareholders include Woodford Investment Management Ltd., Baillie Gifford & Co Ltd., the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, and now Invesco Perpetual and Hargreave Hale Ltd.

“Much has been written about the uncertain future that British venture capital fundraising faces in the wake of Brexit,” Draper Chief Executive Officer Simon Cook said in a statement Friday. “The U.K. can continue to play a significant role in leading the wider European venture capital market.”

Brexit’s uncertain impact on the U.K.’s economy and its prospects for the technology industry has raised questions about a variety of topics, from the development of artificial intelligence to attracting engineering, software and security talent. Cities including Paris have been battling to attract companies away from the U.K. as well as entrepreneurs and funding for startups.
 
However, a range of tech firms have been hiring and investing in London of late. Corporate chatroom startup Slack Technologies Inc., recently opened a new office in London, while Google Thursday revealed plans for its giant new U.K. headquarters.
 
Venture capital firms also invested 6.8 billion pounds into Britain last year, according to an annual study from Tech City UK, a London-based organization that promotes the country’s digital economy. That’s about two-and-a-half times more than what was invested in France, and almost five times more than in Germany.

(Corrects currency in headline.)
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