Draper Esprit plans to raise 100 million pounds to invest in digital shift

(Reuters) - London-based venture capital firm Draper Esprit GROW.L said on Thursday it plans to raise 100 million pounds ($128.89 million) in equity to invest in digital transition opportunities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company, which invests in technology firms across Europe, said it was offering shares at 555 pence each, a 1.3% premium to the stock’s closing price on Thursday.

Government-imposed restrictions to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic have boosted online activity, from shopping to medical consultations.

“The secondary impact of this persistent shift means a large increase in supporting services such as online payments, fraud detection and security, cloud banking infrastructure and online infrastructure for high-value purchases,” the company said, adding that investment round sizes by private firms are increasing.

Draper Esprit also said it was seeking to raise more cash to accelerate its investment strategy and increase its rate of investment to about 120 million pounds per year.

Shares in the company, which invests across customer and enterprise technology as well as digital health sectors, have gained 15% so far this year.

($1 = 0.7759 pounds)

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Devika Syamnath