At Draper Esprit, teams are at the heart of everything we do. We know it takes ambitious teams to build the technology and products of tomorrow. It also takes divergent thinking; people coming together from different backgrounds, with different skills, offering different ways of tackling problems. Innovation happens when we work together.

Today, we’re excited to announce we have hired four new members of our own team to help us find, and then work with, the bold teams building the future. Together they bring entrepreneurial firepower, hands on start up experience and the legal brainpower to help us on our mission to back Europe’s most ambitious founders.

Nicola McClafferty, Investment Director

Over the past decade, Ireland has produced some of the most exciting products and fearless entrepreneurs. We have had the pleasure of working with some of those companies and know that Ireland will continue to grow as a leading force within Europe. We’re therefore proud to announce that Nicola McClafferty will be joining Brian Caulfield in our Irish office, based in Dublin.

Not only a former investor at Balderton, but an entrepreneur herself, Nikki will bring experience from both sides of the table. Passionate about building new businesses, she sold her last business (an online retailer) to Asos and is a mentor on the Enterprise Ireland Retailer Ready programme. Watch out Ireland- Nikki is coming for you!

Vinoth Jayakumar, Principal

Building a brand is at the core of any new business and Vinoth brings with him a history of working with some of the leading brands in the world such as HSBC, Unilever and Virgin whilst at a boutique management consulting firm. He is a recovering Excel and PowerPoint junkie.

Alongside his keen interest in understanding the intricacies of businesses he loves working with start-ups. He spent the last few years building a micro angel investment group investing in crowdfunded companies.

If you’re an entrepreneur working on the next big thing in FinTech, InsurTech or Market Research, he’d love to hear from you.

Diana Krantz, Associate

Slush, Swedish meatballs, Spotify, the northern lights, the ice hotel, and polar bears. The Nordics have blessed us with a plethora of things. Here we are meeting exceptionally talented entrepreneurs and startups, who are clearly thriving in these sub-zero temperatures.

To double down on the region, we’ve brought on a local. Diana joins us directly from Techstars where she was working hands on with the latest London cohort, helping on all things operational. Prior to that, she headed the Partnership team at Rocket Internet’s Somuchmore, a holistic wellness startup. In addition to Swedish, she also speaks Russian and pretends to understand Norwegian, French and Spanish. Diana is also interested in the healthtech revolution and companies directly improving our everyday lives.

Philip O’Reilly, Principal

Philip is a former lawyer, who brings venture deal experience to the team. Before his time as a VC lawyer, Philip spent two years in the US completing an MBA at The Wharton School, including spending five months at the school’s technology focussed campus in San Francisco. Philip has also previously worked at Google, where (as well as enjoying far too much free food), he oversaw a project aimed at redesigning processes for scale. He’s got a particular interest in blockchain and legaltech (of course!) so hit him up if you’re building products for those markets!

Isabella Cookson, Head of Marketing and Research

Last June we became one of the first VC firm to go public. We did this so we can invest in companies for the long term, providing patient capital to teams with ambitious goals. For a long time the City and Shoreditch have been separate hubs operating in silos. We think this should no longer be the case. Communicating the value of the City to bootstrapped entrepreneurs and the value of the next generation of innovators to the City will, we believe, be key to Europe’s success as a hub for great companies.

To tell these stories, Isabella is joining as Head of Marketing and Research. She previously worked in two fast growing tech companies, Improbable and Qubit, as well as in journalism at Bloomberg and the FT (This is Africa).

Nikki, Vinoth, Diana, Philip and Isabella are joining to add more firepower to the team at Draper Esprit where Karen Slatford (Chairwoman), Simon Cook (CEO) and Stuart Chapman (COO) lead one of the first public VCs. The team also includes Brian Caulfield, Jonathan Sibila, Richard Marsh, David Cummings, Vishal Gulati,and Alan Duncan.

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