RNS Number : 5910E
Draper Esprit PLC
02 March 2020

Draper Esprit plc


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


Portfolio update


Leads $83 million investment in Thought Machine and participates in $30 million Evonetix Series B funding round


Draper Esprit (LSE: GROW, Euronext Growth: GRW), a leading venture capital firm investing in and developing high growth digital technology businesses, today updates on participation in two portfolio company fundraises and broader valuation developments across its portfolio.


These include a £26.5 million leading investment in cloud native banking technology platform Thought Machine as part of a Series B funding round. Draper Esprit also participated in a $30.0 million funding round for Evonetix Ltd, the synthetic biology company.


Other Draper Esprit portfolio companies Graphcore and Revolut have also raised funds. Following these rounds, it is anticipated that the fair value uplift on Draper Esprit's holdings will be approx. £7.5 million.



Thought Machine

Draper Esprit today announces the £26.5m (including £16.5m from the plc) investment in cloud native banking technology platform Thought Machine as part of its Series B funding round.


The funding round, led by Draper Esprit with participation from existing investors IQ Capital, Backed, and Playfair Capital, successfully raised £63.8 million ($83.0 million) which will be used to drive expansion into Asia and North America, alongside continued investment into Thought Machine's core technology.


The technology aims to address the banking sector's dependence on legacy IT infrastructure through more flexible cloud-based solutions. The business works with a range of financial institutions including Standard Chartered, SEB and Atom Bank, employing more than 300 people from its headquarters in London.


It is anticipated that Thought Machine will become a core holding of Draper Esprit.



Evonetix Ltd, the synthetic biology company developing a desktop platform for scalable, high-fidelity and rapid gene synthesis, today announced the successful close of its Series B funding, raising $30.0 million in a round led by Foresite Capital.


Draper Esprit participated in the round, alongside existing investors DCVC (Data Collective), the Morningside group, Providence Investment Company, Cambridge Consultants Ltd., Rising Tide Fund and Civilization Ventures.


Evonetix will use the funding to accelerate internal development, including the integration of its technology to enable the synthesis of DNA on a chip.



Graphcore, the Bristol-based company developing a new processor and software for machine intelligence, has secured an additional $150 million in new capital in a private placement. The placement includes new investors Baillie Gifford, Mayfair Equity Partners and M&G Investments, alongside existing investors such as Merian Chysalis. The private placement extends Graphcore's strong cash runway, following a $200 million Series D funding round at the end of 2018. Total investment in Graphcore to date is now $450 million, with its most recent valuation at $1.95 billion.


Graphcore is now shipping production products in volume, and in 2019 announced a partnership with Microsoft to make a joint Intelligence Processing Unit available for external customers on the Azure cloud, as well as for Microsoft internal AI development. Graphcore is focused on expanding its R&D and engineering support capacity to keep up with customer demand and opening in new geographies.




Revolut, the UK-based digital bank, has successfully completed its latest funding round, achieving a valuation of $5.5 billion and raising $500 million.  The business continues to grow its user base, which now stands at almost ten million, and will deploy the funds to continue to roll out its service across Europe and broaden its range of financial products.



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

"Our participation in the funding rounds of Thought Machine and Evonetix, alongside other leading investment partners, and the valuation uplifts from the Graphcore and Revolut fundraises, demonstrates the value in our portfolio and its continued commercial momentum: our strength is in the application of our patient capital model and expertise to support technologies which are revolutionising industries as diverse as banking and healthcare.


"Thought Machine has established a strong market position and a blue chip client base in a relatively short space of time and we believe it has significant potential to become one of Europe's most valuable fintech businesses. Evonetix is leveraging the best of the UK's expertise in DNA research to build this unique, ground-breaking DNA synthesis platform and we're thrilled that the company has drawn such a high-quality list of backers."


"I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Graphcore and Revolut on successful funding rounds. Graphcore's pure-play machine intelligence AI processor is now seeing significant commercial momentum and this new funding will support the continued ramp up in its R&D and customer traction. Revolut is at the vanguard of a group of disruptive and innovative challenger banks who are revolutionising the way we spend, move and manage our money.


"We're really excited to be playing a role in the continued development of all these companies."



Paul Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Thought Machine, added:

"From Revolut and N26 to Transferwise and Freetrade, Draper Esprit has an unparalleled reputation of investing and partnership in European financial services.


"Cloud native banking is fast becoming the most common and desired target architecture for the world's banks and we are determined to build on our success to date as we embark on this next exciting phase of our development."




Draper Esprit plc

Martin Davis (Chief Executive Officer)

Ben Wilkinson (Chief Financial Officer)

+44 (0)20 7931 8800

Numis Securities

Nominated Adviser & Joint Broker

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

James White

Elly Williamson

Jessica Hodgson

+44 (0)20 7250 1446


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