Ascension Ventures has assembled an experienced group of mentors, including seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals who provide insight and access to their networks. These connections will be harnessed for the benefit of our portfolio businesses, providing access to investment opportunities before they reach the wider market
The mentors will contribute their expertise in the digital media and technology sectors, ranging in size from start-up to global companies; operating within online video, music, games, edtech, adtech, publishing, retail, SaaS, and eCommerce
ex Managing Director, Lloyds Bank
Arthur has over 40 years experience supporting innumerable entrepreneurial management teams to realise their aspirations, with his depth of experience in Leveraged Finance and Private Equity.
He started his career with Bank of Scotland and was involved in dozens of MBOs across a variety of sectors and range of sizes. As the former Managing Director of Lloyds Banking Group Family Office business he also had principal relationship responsibility for the diverse business activities of some of the UK’s largest and best- known self made entrepreneurs, with business interests typically well in excess of £1bn turnover.
He is passionate about supporting the next generation of Entrepreneurs.
Ex Chief Executive at Future PLC and ITN
Mark Wood was Editor-in-Chief and Head of Media at Reuters and subsequently worked as Chairman/CEO of ITN, the TV news organisation, and CEO of Future PLC, the UK-US publishing group.
He developed digital businesses at Reuters and ITN and was also a co-founder of digital video business Diagonal View. Under his leadership Future took its digital traffic to 60m visits a month and became the leading UK publisher on the iPad. Mark is a non-exec director of Future, Ten Alps and Citywire.
Advisor/Mentor at Microsoft Ventures
Shweta is the ex-Director of Entertainment for Xbox at Microsoft. She established the Xbox Entertainment business for Europe, Middle East and Africa during 2012 to 2014, adding strategic planning and business management skills to front the launch of the Xbox 360 and Xbox One App portfolios. She was responsible for driving growth through new product development, marketing and customer propositions.
After her time at Microsoft, Shweta headed up Digital Commerce for Harvey Nichols in London.
Ex MD of Eurosport UK
Pierre-Jean Sebert has 20+ years of senior management experience in media and music, and is the co-founder and CEO of the music & brands agency Miles, based in London.
Prior to Miles, Pierre-Jean has been with Eurosport for 13 years, as Channel Controller, Director of Business Development and then MD UK.
After Eurosport, has been working as a senior advisor to major media and entertainment companies including cable operators Virgin Media and ONO, broadcasters UKTV and Mad Men’s creators Rainbow Media, the UEFA, Arqiva and Broadcast Australia, before launching as CEO the online TV platform SeeSaw in 2010.
Founder of Unicorn VC
Bhaskar is Founder and Managing Partner at Unicorn India Ventures (www.unicornivc.com) a leading Venture Equity and Venture Debt Fund in India. He also runs his prop investments under Heath Ventures (www.heathventures.com). Bhaskar is a seasoned media & technology executive and entrepreneur. In the past decade, Bhaskar has established himself as a well-regarded early stage investor and advisor, especially in the UK and India. He has a strong domain in media-tech, in ad-tech and in IT services businesses. In his corporate career, he has held senior Board positions with in media with Times of India, Zee Telefilms and Altavista UK across theatres of India and UK and had global roles.
In 2000, he started his first entrepreneurial venture, Recreate Solutions, a company within the digital media realm and backed by Insight Partners. After scaling the business, he sold the business to a US Systems Integrator. He has exited businesses as an entrepreneur and as an investor and brings a strong expertise of positioning businesses for exit.
An Alumni of IIT Kharagpur and an AMP from Harvard, Bhaskar is very active in the angel community network in UK and in India. He brings an international flavour to Ascension Ventures and would enable early stage business in their international roll-out strategy as well as being potential targets for Asian business looking at strategic entry into UK.
Ex NBC Universal
Natasha was VP Strategy and Operations for NBC Universal International Television Production, where she was responsible for corporate strategy, business development and business planning activity for the division and its production labels.
Prior to NBCU, Natasha was Head of Strategy for Fremantle Media (2007 to 2013). Here, she led corporate strategy and business planning for the group, working alongside the CEO, Chief Operating Officer and Fremantle Media Board. Mitchell was previously a TMT strategy consultant at Deloitte and she holds an MBA from INSEAD.
Ex MD of Digital Media for Endemol UK
Peter is a hugely experienced multi-platform executive and entrepreneur. Previous to founding his own businesses Spirit Digital Media (a dynamic multi-platform content producer) and Connected Ventures (an eCommerce technology company), Peter was the MD of Digital Media for Endemol UK and global head of original digital programming at Endemol International. Peter has spent his working career in content (Spirit & Endemol), internet portals & access (Freeserve/Orange), marketing (Videotron/ Cable & Wireless/Virgin Media) and advertising (BBH).
Ex MD of Nickelodeon UK
Director at Paypoint
Entrepreneur and Angel Investor
Head of Sales Strategy at BBC Worldwide
Marketing Management Consultant
Gregor is a Marketing Management Consultant with 25 years of entrepreneurial and creative experience, enabling the creation, management and commercialisation of exciting young businesses. Gregor was previously the Executive Vice-President of Cossette, a Marketing and Advertising Agency, and Commercial Consultant at Magine
Co-founder and CEO of ScanSafe
Eldar is a leading technology entrepreneur who co-founded ScanSafe in 1999, the world’s first provider of web security as a service. In 2007 ScanSafe was named one of the top 100 technology start-ups in the world by Red Herring and recognised as a technology innovator and visionary company by Gartner. ScanSafe had over 2,000 of the world’s leading companies as customers including Shell, IKEA and GE. The security services were delivered through an international network of datacenters from Tokyo to San Francisco and distributed by partners such as Google and AT&T. The company was sold to Cisco for $183 million in October 2009.
Head of Vevo Europe
Jon has led strategic change in start-ups, business divisions, complex corporations and joint ventures. He has been responsible for services and brands that have delighted millions of consumers and generated hundreds of millions in revenue. He has advised CEOs, boards, investors and industry organisations, helping them face the realities and opportunities of disruptive technology and their digital future.
Jon currently heads Vevo Europe, having previously been a director at Channel 4 and Managing Director at Yahoo UK. Jon has an MBA from Harvard.
Alex is an experienced digital media expert with over twelve years of experience devising and launching innovative digital products across EMEA. Specializing in strategy, content development, stakeholder management, marketing and commercial.
Ex MD of Royal Mail, Next, & Boots
Gillian chairs Sports Coach UK, the National Coaching Foundation, and founded Board Mentoring in 2008. Her background in Retail, Logistics, Brands and Consumer Markets is combined with her work more recently in Tech, Sport, Energy, Government Investment Advisory and the Leisure/Gambling industry. She offers a strategic approach focused on stakeholders and aligned to a real operational understanding and insight into management and leadership.
Chairman at Eclipse Media Group
Peter Einstein is a senior operational executive with strong leadership, communication and entrepreneurial skills. Mr. Einstein has focused his career on start-up/ turn around company situations which have resulted in operational/profitable success on a domestic and international basis. He has achieved this success in multicultural/multilanguage situations providing both vision and leadership to companies in these environments.
Peter spent 15 years at Viacom Inc’s MTV Networks and was an original member of the team that launched MTV:MUSIC TELEVISION and NICKELODEON in the US. During his tenure at MTV NETWORKS he held posts ranging from management positions with the U.S. sales, marketing and Ad sales divisions to moving overseas and developing MTV’s international expansion including becoming President and Business Director of MTV Networks Europe. In this post he was responsible for all business and strategic areas of the company including MTV Europe, VH-1 UK and VH-1 Germany.
Member of the BBFC Management Board
Mel has over 30 years experience in the TMT sector. He is currently a member of the BBFC Management Board, Non Executive Director of Arts Alliance Media Ltd, Trustee of the Whitstable Biennale and Owner of the Complete Circle Consultancy Ltd. Mel has held Senior Management roles at Sky, Disney, i-Crossing, Fremantle and Curzon.
Richard is an ex-PwC accountant and corporate treasurer, and has been working with and investing in early stage / growing business software companies since 1994. He has broad experience as a CEO, COO, CFO and NXD, often appointed by institutions, and is currently NXC of activ8 Intelligence Limited and an NXD of Comply Serve, Crowd Control, OneSys Group and others. Richard’s key focus is helping software companies to raise finance and structure themselves properly for growth, whilst also acting as a sounding board and support for executive teams in commercial discussions and matters of financial management, governance, compliance and investor relations. Richard is also a director of a midsize digital and PR agency and given half a chance will happily ‘add his two penn’orth’ to discussions about marketing strategy.
Interim CEO at Girl Effect
Claire Tavernier is the Interim CEO of Girl Effect, a leading and innovative non-profit organisation focusing on behaviour change through media and technology, for the world’s most vulnerable girls.
Before Girl Effect, Claire held a number of leadership positions in the media and digital sectors. Until 2015 she was Managing Director of ChannelFlip, one of the original UK-based YouTube multi-channel networks. Previously, she was the Global Head of Digital for international television producer FremantleMedia, working on TV formats including Idol, Got Talent, The X Factor and The Price is Right, as well as managing all gaming activities, original digital productions and partnerships. She was also FremantleMedia’s Global Head of Drama, specialising in long running serial dramas such as Australia’s Neighbours. Claire has won multiple awards for her work in the TV and digital space.
She is a non-executive director at Instrumental, a talent discovery network that uses AI to identify star potential in online talent.
UK Director at OneRagtime
Laurence’s Executive career spans over 20 years at world-class and fast scaling organisations like LinkedIn, AOL, Time Warner, Orange and more recently, Pipedrive, one of the fastest growing B2B SaaS vendors. Laurence is a Marketer at heart, customer-obsessed and fond of product design and branding. But she also brings a strong expertise of performance marketing and growth hacking, acquired in super competitive and high-velocity environments.
As a Board Advisor, Mentor and Lecturer, Laurence also enjoys sharing her experience with startups and future leaders, helping them with strategic thinking, enhancing effectiveness and addressing operational challenges. Born in France and currently based in London, she has lived in 4 countries and led international teams.
President at Portfolio IV Media & Consulting
Ion is a strategic advisor to individuals and organizations. He helps everyone from entrepreneurs to executives accelerate their development, reinvent themselves periodically and transform their errors into magnificent mistakes.
He has a unique combination of experience in both the public and private sectors. Ion has worked as a Press Secretary on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, helped launch an international mobile media initiative at the world’s largest mobile phone company in London, spent 4 years as a senior executive in a fast-growing technology start-up in Montreal, served as president of a Foundation dedicated to developing public leaders, and for the past decade has run a strategic advice firm with clients in North America, Europe and Australia.
Group Director at BGL Group
Kal is a strategic and commercial leader with over 16 year’s experience running P&Ls, building teams, and innovating in highly competitive, growth focused environments. As a member of the Group Executive Committee with a portfolio role at BGL Group, she currently holds responsibility for a number of areas including strategic execution, new ventures, group communications, and Les Furets, BGL’s comparison site in France. She also provides Board assurance and oversight for the Group’s portfolio of brands.
Kal has in depth knowledge in scaling digital businesses, most notably comparethemarket.com in the UK, and Les Furets in France.
Chief Digital Transformation Officer
Eric is a Senior Executive and Consultant specialising in digital transformation, growth and diversification. With over 25 years of experience as an intrepreneur for large organisations, he is now also an investor and supporter of start-ups. He has deep experience in Consumer Technology, Entertainment, Telecommunications, Media, Hospitality and Events, with broad experience derived from a range of industries. Eric has launched, scaled and/or diversified dozens of ventures, in more than 30 markets across Europe, Africa, The Middle East, APAC, managing investments over $1bn and similar level P&L’s.