The Ascension Investment Team is responsible for sourcing, negotiating, implementing and managing investments
They are an established group of investment professionals with extensive experience of both investment and hands-on management of SMEs. They profit from the active industry connections essential for the sourcing and development of deal-flow, deal structuring, and market due diligence
The Ascension Investment Team is extremely well connected to the UK’s leading angel networks and early stage VCs, which helps to secure follow-on funding for the portfolio businesses as they move to their next growth stage
Kip is an Inquiry Chair at the Competition and Markets Authority, Chair of A Million Ads (an Ascension investee company) and a non-executive director of the Wireless Infrastructure Group. He is also the co-founder of the Communications Chambers, a network of senior communications industry professionals, providing public policy and strategic advice to the industry. He was previously a board member of Ofcom.
Jean de Fougerolles
Jean has over 20 years experience working in media and digital businesses. After obtaining his MBA from INSEAD in 1996, he became Head of Distribution for MTV Europe out of the London office.
He then started working at Two Way TV, a pioneer in interactive technology, games and digital content, where he became CEO and structured partnership deals with many leading content owners (Big Brother, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, X-Factor, Deal or No Deal, Test the Nation), broadcasters (BBC, ITV, C4, C5, Sky Sports, Flextech, Cartoon Network), and platforms (Sky, Virgin, UPC, BT). In 2008, Jean led the sale of Two Way Media to Virgin Media and a leading private equity group.
Jean is originally from Montreal where he received his BA in History with Honours from McGill University. After a year in Czechoslovakia teaching English and French at Masaryk University in Brno, he became an economist in New York after having completed a Masters Degree in International Relations from Columbia University.
Jean is also an active angel investor and was an early seed investor in Atom Films, eventually sold to Viacom for $200m.
Kieran joined Ascension in 2013 running its Operations. He is part of the investment team analysing new business opportunities, and continually works with the portfolio businesses to progress them.
Before joining Ascension Ventures, Kieran worked for a proprietary trading house in the city as a Derivatives Trader, an Account Director at an online video start-up, and a Freelance Journalist for the Guardian newspaper. He graduated from Westminster University in 2010, with a first class honours degree in Journalism.
Emma Blackburn brings over 20 years experience leading finance teams both in the US and UK. Graduating from Stanford University with a Bachelors degree in Economics and Masters degree in Industrial Engineering, Emma worked in Audit and M&A for Ernst and Young, before moving in-house first at EQE International and then at Siebel Systems. Emma established and administered all financial systems for international subsidiaries during the explosive growth period of Siebel Systems, “the fastest growing company in the United States (Fortune Magazine, 1999)”.
Emma has held the CFO position at a number of start-up and scale-up UK technology companies. She is an active angel investor with a strong passion for both impact investing and investing in female founded companies. Outside of work, Emma is an avid traveler and boater, having renovated and cruised a barge around Europe, on which she now resides.
Emma leads finance as CFO at Ascension Ventures.
Emma joins the team having worked as an Analyst for Social Impact Finance from Eastside Primetimers. Emma previously worked for 5 years in corporate Banking at Santander Bank and also has a Masters degree in Development Economics from the University of Sussex.
Luke joined AV in 2017 and works full-time on the FBD Fund, having graduated from Imperial College with an MSc in Environmental Technology, specialising in Economics. After completing an MA at Edinburgh University he worked in consulting and at a social impact start-up. He is a keen adventurer and has raised over £350,000 for charities including a world record-breaking row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2013.
Nico is a recent graduate of the World Bachelor in Business Program, a first-of-its-kind joint venture undergraduate Business program between the University of Southern California, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Università Bocconi of Milan.
Alicia joined the team in 2018 and leads all marketing and communications activities for AV and the Fair by Design Fund.
Alicia’s background spans policy, digital marketing, and market research in both consumer and B2B. She holds a BA in International Affairs from the George Washington University and an MSc in Business Innovation from Birkbeck, University of London.
Remy was founder and CEO at CSC Media Group Ltd, which, when sold to Sony Pictures Television in 2014 for approximately £107m, operated 16 ad-supported television channels and associated websites/VOD channels in the UK.
Remy has worked in broadcast and interactive media for nearly 20 years. Previous to CSC Media, Remy served as the Commercial Director of YooMedia Plc, where his focus was on building and managing their successful and profitable gaming business. Before YooMedia, Remy served as Head of Strategy at Telewest Broadband where he was responsible for implementing Telewest’s broadband content strategy.
AV Syndicate Club
Chris is an Investment Partner at Ascension Ventures and runs the AV Syndicate, curating Tech and FinTech deal flow for HNW investors. He has been raising funds for early-stage technology businesses for over seven years.
After graduating from Edinburgh University, Chris started his own business, the Well Dressed Salad Company, before joining Fizzback, a pioneer in customer engagement software which was sold to NICE Systems for c.$80m.
After the Fizzback exit, he joined Angels Den and set up and managed their Tech, FinTech and InsurTech Clubs where he raised investment for 110+ early stage businesses over 6 ½ years.
Investment Director, UK - India fund
Vaibhav has 10 years’ experience across finance, public policy and technology sectors. He worked as a Public Policy Specialist at NITI Aayog, the Government of India’s premier policy think tank, where He was part of the core team which supports the Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog on various policy matters. He was also part of the team that worked on the three-year Action Agenda for India which was released in August 2017.
Vaibhav was also a corporate financier in London based investment banks for 5 years. Additionally, he was instrumental in setting up data-led strategy capabilities for two ad-tech start-ups in London, where he cumulatively worked for a little less than 2 years. Vaibhav holds a Masters in Financial Economics from the University of Oxford and a Bachelors degree in engineering from Panjab University Chandigarh. He is the Investment Director of the Unicorn Ascension Fund and responsible for deal sourcing and execution.
Rakesh joined as Portfolio Advisor in January 2019, focussing on our (S)EIS funds.
Rakesh built a progressive 20-year career within the intensely competitive technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) sector, serving as Product Director for EE across mobile, fixed line and TV.
Most recently, Rakesh co-founded a FinTech start-up and was pivotal in the commercialisation and growth of the business as it raised £3m in funding.
Rakesh also has several years of advisory work with early-stage and growth companies across the technology spectrum.
He holds a BSc (Hons) Computer Science from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Charles Breese has over 30 years of experience of investing in start-up, early stage and quoted smaller companies, harnessing technology to derive competitive advantage. He previously worked for KPMG and then became the Managing Director of Larpent Newton & Co Ltd. Larpent Newton provides the resources required to assist technology-based companies wanting to develop from being unquoted through to an AIM listing and ultimately to achieving a trade sale.
Ascension Ventures is an appointed representative of Larpent Newton. Charles is also a director of Hygea VCT (which focuses on Medtech), Octopus VCT plc., and is the investment manager for the London Business Angels EIS Fund, one of the UK’s biggest and most successful angel networks. His active participation will enhance Ascension’s deal-flow, co-investment, and follow-on investment activity from his angel network.
Sue formed Finance Birmingham with Birmingham City Council and has led the growth of the business from a Business Loan Fund of £10 million to £300 million, through a range of funds and programmes, both locally and on a national scale. Sue has over a decades experience of CEO posts in regulated businesses including The Exchange, Regional Stock Exchange and Finance Birmingham. Sue is passionate about the SME community and the role they play in the economy’s recovery and growth. A strong commercial focus and corporate experience has secured the support of both public and private sector initiatives. Sue is part of the Ascension Ventures Board.
Venture Partners are exited entrepreneurs, active investors, and shareholders in Ascension Ventures. Venture Partners introduce new deal-flow to Ascension funds, bring corporate development initiatives, assess investment opportunities as part of our due diligence, and mentor relevant portfolio businesses.