London Brief #40
Simon Cooks fills the Brexit financial gap, a new Unicorn, broken marketplace for used cars and business as usual. Read more in this issue…
A hero of the week is Simon Cook, CEO at Draper Esprit — a company which has already backed crowdfunding platforms Seedrs and Crowdcube. He is now investing in Seedcamp and Episode 1 Ventures. Draper Esprit will also spend £100m on direct investment in the companies (and it has just invested in Verve, see the Business as usual section).
Mr Cook’s bold move comes as a small relief after a group of VCs anonymously told Politico they had been notified that the financial support from the EIF would cease. According to Mr Cook, the EIF is behind about one-third of all the UK tech investments.
In the news
Uber saga continues as the company appealed a London regulator’s decision to revoke the car service’s license, seeking more settlement talks.
If you were thinking about forgetting Uber and buying a used car, your options are now limited. Carspring has apparently gone down after Rocket Internet decided to decline participation in $5m Series B. The situation is unclear yet, and we keep fingers crossed for the company.
Reports and Rankings
Business as usual
- OakNorth, a challenger bank providing fast debt financing to the UK companies, is a new Unicorn. After raising £154m in equity from The Clermont Group, Toscafund and Coltrane Asset Management, it is now valued at $1.3bn.
- Secret Escapes the members-only travel club has raised $111m (£83m) in its latest funding round led by Temasek.
- Verve (aka StreetTeam), an advocacy platform to sell tickets for events, has raised $18.5m (£14m) in a Series B round led by Draper Esprit.
- Kobalt, founded in London and based in NY, offering a platform for collecting micropayment royalties for musicians, has topped up its Series D with an additional $14m (£10.6m) from Bill Maris’ Section 32.
- Huckletree, a coworking space startup has announced a funding round of £4.5m with Meyer Bergman.
- Supersolid, a mobile games studio behind Food Street and Super Penguins, has raised the $4m series A round led by Index Ventures.
- BridgeU, a university and career guidance platform, has closed a £4m Series A led by Octopus Ventures.
- The Drop, fashion startup offering menswear on demand, has raised £250,000 from Forward Partners.
Number of the day
£100m: this is how much Draper Esprit will invest in the UK startups each year.
London Brief is a weekly selection of essential information about startups, technology and the business scene in London. Got news? Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of the London Brief Team