Today we announce we have signed a strategic partnership with German-based VC, Earlybird.
Last year the IPOs of Adyen and Spotify saw Europe compete on a global stage; Europe is no longer behind the US and the market is delivering on its promises to build the tech giants of tomorrow.
However, despite this, the well documented lack of growth capital for European entrepreneurs remains. To build a unicorn (a business worth over $1 billion) requires sustained investment, as startups compete on a global stage to win the battle for growth so, if we want to see more tech behemoths with their roots in Europe, we need larger funding platforms which can enable entrepreneurs to scale from idea to IPO.
The last five years have also seen a number of new startup hubs emerge or mature across the region. No longer do entrepreneurs need to move to Silicon Valley to access capital and build their businesses; it’s now possible to build the next unicorn from London, Berlin, Paris, or Stockholm.
Our ambition is to support European entrepreneurs building global businesses, no matter where they base themselves. To do that well, it requires boots on the ground to build long lasting relationships with entrepreneurs in the cities that they live and work in.
Today we are therefore excited to announce our strategic partnership with the team at Earlybird Digital West. Through this collaborative agreement, we believe we can continue build a platform across Europe that enable startups to flourish regardless of whether they are from Munich or Dublin, Paris or London.
When looking for a partner, “fit” is everything. At Draper Esprit, we focus on supporting startups at series A, B and beyond. The name is on the tin for Earlybird, they invest early: at seed stage to series A. We invest from offices in the UK, Ireland, and Paris. They, from Berlin, Munich, Istanbul. We raise money via the public markets and through our EIS and VCT funds, they from traditional private LPs.
Together, we have the equivalent of a $1.3 billion fund, one of the largest in Europe and a portfolio of over 100 exciting European tech businesses, including Revolut, Graze, UI Path, N26, Transferwise, Ledger, Graphcore and Peak Games.
This strategic partnership makes us one of the most active VC partnerships in Europe and together we will be deploying up to €200 million a year in Seed, Series A, B and C technology companies. Although we will continue to manage our portfolios separately, we will be sharing dealflow, expertise and talent, and we expect to collaborate on 15-20 new deals together over the course of the next year by combining our capital.
True partnerships also have to be founded on trust. We have known the team at Earlybird now for over 20 years. While we both bring different experiences to the table, we share a strong set of values and a belief in the power of entrepreneurship to build a better future. This partnership is just the beginning.