Ascension Ventures, the London-based investment firm, has announced a funding round, which will see the addition of 14 new Venture Partners.
The group strengthens Ascension’s core belief in entrepreneurs investing in entrepreneurs, bringing in active UK and US investors with a number of them already successfully-exited entrepreneurs. Ascension’s bolstered experience in early stage investments and deep sector knowledge will increase deal-flow and support portfolio companies as they develop and scale in the UK and beyond.
Since 2013, Ascension has invested in more than 75 early stage tech companies across the UK, including Vidsy, Moteefe, Wagestream, A Million Ads and Hazy, which have gone on to raise multimillion pound rounds since Ascension invested in their initial seed rounds. The firm continues to attract exceptional entrepreneurs seeking early stage investment (ranging between £250K-£1.5m) and private capital, angels and other early stage VCs seeking co-invest partners. Ascension raises annual SEIS & EIS Funds, in addition to bidding for larger institutional funds. In the last year, Ascension also launched a series of initiatives including the Fair by Design Fund, a new £10m Fund tackling poverty in the UK, and the Unicorn Ascension Fund, the first UK/India cross-border EIS scale-up fund.
Serial entrepreneur, Vin Murria OBE, who set up Advanced Computer Software in 2008 and sold the business for £765 million in 2015 commented, “I’ve been very impressed with the Ascension Team and their track record of investments in UK tech start-ups. I’m delighted to be joining as a Venture Partner and look forward to building Ascension’s brand as the best place for early stage investing.”
Gary Stewart, Managing Director of Wayra UK, said, “Ascension has always been a committed and consistent partner of Wayra. Indeed, they’ve invested in 16 of our start-ups, are investors in residence in our London hub and are our principal partner in the Fair By Design programme. That being said, we expect that the best is still yet to come.”
Erik Blachford commented, “Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a proliferation of strong UK tech businesses. I felt that working with Ascension was a great opportunity to access the UK’s best early stage tech deal-flow, and I look forward to supporting these portfolio companies as they scale up and enter the US market.” Erik was CEO of Expedia when it sold to IAC and currently lives in San Francisco, where he is a Venture Partner at TCV, an active angel investor, and a Board Director at Zillow Group, Peloton, SiteMinder, TourRadar, Varsity Tutors, Liftopia, Busbud, and the Cutting Ball Theater.
CEO of Ascension Ventures, Jean de Fougerolles, commented, “I’m delighted we’ve pulled together such a strong group of Venture Partners, all with deep operational experience in scaling and exiting tech businesses. Early stage investing requires specialist sector knowledge, not only to pick the right companies, but also to provide the necessary support to guide them through the early years. My vision has always been to build Ascension as the top seed VC brand in the UK, a place where seasoned tech operators can back the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovative business models. The addition of these new Venture Partners brings Ascension closer to this objective.”
Along with the 14 new Venture Partners, Kip Meek will be joining as Ascension’s new Chairman. Kip is the Founder of the Communications Chambers and Director of the Wireless Infrastructure Group; he was previously a Senior Advisor to EE and BT, Chairman of the Radiocentre, a Board member of Ofcom and the Founder of Spectrum Strategy Consultants.
The other Venture Partners included in today’s announcement are Pharus Advisors, Emma Blackburn, Antonin de Fougerolles, Craig Fletcher, Aleks Habdank, Jami Jenkins, Ian McClelland, Remy Minute, Diane Stewart and Barney Worfolk-Smith.