London-based publicly listed VC Draper Esprit has announced its intention to acquire additional stakes in the previous funds of Earlybird VC, a German early-stage investor. Draper Esprit plans to pay €63 million for a 27 percent stake in the Earlybird IV fund (raised in 2009), and another $20 million for a 5 percent stake in the Digital East fund (raised in 2014). The UK-based company will also commit €5 million to Earlybird's Digital East 2 fund.
In addition to that, Draper Esprit has announced an additional placing on London Stock Exchange aiming to raise £100 million in gross proceeds “to fund the cquisitions as well as financing further direct and secondary investment opportunities,” it stated in a news release.
The deal appears to be the next step in the partnership between Draper Esprit and Earlybird, first announced in July 2018. Back then, the British VC invested €18 million in Earlybird's another fund, Digital West, and committed to invest a further €17 million per year until 2022.
“These acquisitions represent an exceptional opportunity made available to us through our strategic partnership with Earlybird,” said Simon Cook, CEO of Draper Esprit. “The two funds include a number of high quality, well positioned and fast-growing European assets, the prospects of which we are very excited about. We’re also refreshing our financial resources to continue to invest in our strong pipeline of potential future investment opportunities.”
After the deal is closed, Draper Esprit will hold stakes in the companies Earlybird invested in through the two funds in question. Those include the consumer loan portal smava, mobile game developer Peak Games, robotic process automation startup UiPath, sales service provider B2X, cloud-based telephony company Nfon, and AI-powered social media marketing suite Socialbakers.
Check out an interview with Simon Cook from November on our podcast.