Active tech investors and leading entrepreneurs invest in Ascension, joining as Venture Partners to expand deal-flow and support portfolio companies
- Ascension announces 14 new investors, who will join the firm as Venture Partners to identify, back and scale UK tech businesses
- New Venture Partners are active investors and include prolific tech entrepreneur Vin Murria, Telefonica’s accelerator, Wayra UK, and the Founders of Expedia, Multiplay and CSC Media
- This solidifies experience and credentials across multiple tech sectors like Digital Media and Fintech, as well as providing access to New York and Silicon Valley for its portfolio businesses
LONDON, ENGLAND – 28 November 2018 – Ascension Ventures, the London-based investment firm, today 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.
Aleks Habdank commented, “I have been working in the Media industry for over 20 years now, including senior roles at Liberty Global, Virgin Media, YouView, Modern Times Group and, most recently, Talk Talk. I have seen the proliferation of digital as the key distribution driver for content, and believe the future lies in pure digital content consumption. As Ascension invests in the digital media end of technology, it was the logical place for me to invest in and join as a Venture Partner so that I can support the early stage innovators it is investing in.”
Exited entrepreneur and angel investor, Craig Fletcher, said, “I have been investing in Ascension’s SEIS & EIS Funds for a number of years now and have been heavily involved with supporting the portfolio companies as they have scaled. Therefore, it made sense to invest in Ascension and join as a Venture Partner in order to continue helping grow both Ascension’s position in the ecosystem as well as the portfolio companies it invests in, particularly in the mobile gaming and eSports sector.”
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, Jami Jenkins, Ian McClelland, Sam Miller, Remy Minute, Diane Stewart and Barney Worfolk-Smith.
Ascension Ventures backs exceptional entrepreneurs with big visions by providing capital, access to its network, and expert mentors to grow scalable businesses. Our focus is on supporting UK businesses from Seed to Series A. Venture capital in tech and digital media is constantly evolving and requires a specialist approach and extensive sector insight to identify and progress innovative enterprises. Since 2013, we have invested in over 75 early stage tech companies. We have a rigorous investment evaluation process and are highly selective in putting forward opportunities for investment from our funds.
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