Draper Esprit, Europe’s only stock market-listed tech VC firm, is changing its name to Molten Ventures after a change in senior personnel and an increasingly distant relationship with the U.S. VC network from which it inherited its name.
With former co-founder and CEO Simon Cook amicably departed to new pastures and the European listing powering to the fund in new directions, Molten is as good a new name as any with which to plow a new furlough.
Molten’s team says the name conjures up images of transformation, “matter being transformed via the injection of energy — the first transformation is from solid to molten form.” OK… But behind the marketing speak is a solid VC fund with a very experienced team, so there are no concerns there.
In terms of an update on the fund, Molten Ventures now has a portfolio of investments boasting 67 companies, including early-stage companies like Irish drone delivery company Manna Aero, Cambridge-based quantum computing software company Riverlane, London-based climate intelligence company Cervest and Finnish satellite company ICEYE.
Its portfolio also includes European unicorns such as Trustpilot, UiPath, Graphcore, Revolut, Cazoo, Ledger and Aircall. Between them, Molten’s portfolio companies have a combined valuation of well over £1.4 billion.
It’s also an investor in seed venture capital funds. Its Fund of Funds program comprises 42 European funds, including Seedcamp, Earlybird, IcebreakerVC and Future Positive Capital. Funds invested in the last three years total £75 million, with the same amount committed for the next three years.
Just over five years ago, the firm first listed its shares on AIM and the Euronext Growth Market in Dublin. It’s still the only large, tech-focused VC firm listed on the stock market.
Since 2016, Molten has raised £619 million (~$860 million) and seen cash realisations of over £300 million (~$420 million), with £206 million (~$290 million) in the last full year, deploying over £550 million (~$760 million). Its annual rate of deployment is about £200 million ($270 million).
Its initial portfolio totaled 24 European technology companies at a valuation of £74.8 million.
Martin Davis, CEO at Molten Ventures said: “Our rebrand to Molten Ventures is rooted in the team’s long experience of transformation — both our own, and our successful efforts to help our portfolio do the same It encapsulates that moment when VCs give their energy to help companies succeed.”
Stuart Chapman, co-founder at Molten Ventures said: “All our energy is devoted to identifying and supporting Europe’s most visionary entrepreneurs. We recognize that building the next generation of companies requires flexible, patient and supportive capital and we are uniquely positioned to offer this — making more possible for all of us.”