Ascension, Unicorn India tie up for cross border venture fund
The Unicorn Ascension EIS (enterprise investment scheme) fund aims to raise up to £5 million per year and is expected to announce its first close at £2 million by July-end
Mumbai: London-based early-stage venture fund Ascension Ventures and Mumbai-based Unicorn India Ventures on Tuesday announced a joint cross-border fund that will invest in UK-based start-ups.
The Unicorn Ascension EIS (enterprise investment scheme) fund aims to raise up to £5 million per year and is expected to announce its first close at £2 million by July-end. The fund is looking to invest in firms which are building products and services relevant to the Indian market, the statement added.
“Leveraging Ascension’s track record of running multiple EIS funds, UIV is aiming to open up the Indian market for UK start-ups. This will bring in cutting-edge technologies from the UK to the Indian technology ecosystem,” it said.
EIS is a tax-relief scheme offered by the UK government, through which investors can claim income tax relief for their investments into small firms based in the UK.
“The fund represents a double benefit—EIS tax reliefs afforded to UK investors can significantly reduce their capital risks, while an entry into India offers a unique exposure to one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world,” said Jean de Fourgerolles, partner, Unicorn Ascension EIS Fund, and founder, Ascension.
Ascension Ventures had launched its first seed enterprise investment scheme (SEIS) fund in 2012. It has invested in more than 70 UK-based early-stage technology and digital businesses, from its 10 funds with more than £22 million in assets under management.
The Unicorn Ascension EIS fund’s investment teams will be based in London, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Nina Amin, former partner and head of Asian markets with KPMG, UK will lead the investment committee of the fund.
The fund is aiming to invest £1-3m at the pre-Series A stage and will co-invest alongside angels and VCs across six to eight deals a year.
The fund is expected to start deploying capital by September 2018.
“It is encouraging to see that companies from the UK have started venturing into the Indian market. Firms like Falcon Media have successfully launched their products and others like Deliveroo have expressed their intent of entering too. Our team has already identified compelling investment opportunities through proprietary networks that have been developed after years of experience,” said Bhaskar Majumdar, partner, Unicorn Ascension EIS Fund.