Unicorn Ascension Fund A strong team of experienced professionals and successful entrepreneurs

Why a UK-India Corridor Fund

UK is home to one of the largest tech hubs in the world (London) and produces cutting edge technologies which can scale globally
India is the fastest growing major economy in the world and is witnessing a significant digital revolution Read More
Strong political will from both governments pushing for closer ties between the UK and India
Increasing synergies emerging between the two countries where India is witnessing a profound digital revolution and the UK is home to innovative and mature technologies

Who We Are

Unicorn Ascension Fund (‘UAF’) is a partnership between Unicorn India Ventures (‘UIV’) and Ascension Ventures (‘AV’). Both UIV and AV have a track record of supporting and scaling-up early stage technology businesses in India and the UK. UAF is a cross border EIS Fund that exclusively aims to help scale early stage UK based technology businesses into India. This will enable these businesses to leverage the transformational digital revolution taking place in India.

Unicorn India Ventures (www.unicornivc.com) is a VC company with multiple funds within the Indian start-up ecosystem. Its first fund is a £15m Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) registered fund investing seed/early capital in technology businesses. UIV is currently setting up a £75m venture debt fund (that will back early and growth stage India-based technology businesses) and a £10m top-up fund (that will back best performing portfolio companies from UIV’s 1st fund).

Ascension Ventures (www.ascensionventures.com) launched the UK’s first SEIS Fund in 2012. AV has since invested, across 10 distinct funds (£22m+ AUM), in 70+ UK based early stage technology and digital media businesses. Ascension has participated in the Seed & Seed+ rounds of some of the UK’s most recognised tech companies, alongside some of the country’s best-known angels and VCs. Its portfolio includes Vidsy, Hazy AI, Moteefe, Blokur, Mutt, A Million Ads, and GiveVision, amongst others.

Both UIV and AV have complementary offerings. AV provides more than 6 years’ experience in the SEIS/EIS ecosystem in the UK and its network of co-investment partners includes the UK’s leading VCs. UIV will provide UAF portfolio companies a strong network of successful entrepreneurs, senior corporate professionals, senior government representatives, domain experts, VCs/investors, which they can leverage to launch products and services in India. Additionally, UAF’s investee companies will also benefit from UIV’s strong ties with corporates, SMEs, government departments and public-sector organizations in India.

Investment Thesis

  • Unicorn Ascension Fund sees a clear gap to build a fund focused on backing UK companies whose tech and business models can scale into the Indian market and benefit from the growth linked to the ‘India Digitisation’ revolution
  • UAF will back UK based technology businesses at pre-Series A stage, with a ticket size of £500,000 – £750,000, as a co-investor in rounds that are between £1m and £3m
  • The Fund will be evergreen with quarterly closes, the first of which is August 4th, 2018
  • The Fund will invest in around 6-8 businesses a year
  • All investee companies will have the potential to leverage their technology products and services to enter and scale in the fast-growing digital economy in India
  • UAF’s investee companies will leverage their growth through the following themes:
    • Significantly expanding middle class
    • Young demographic
    • Rising smartphone and internet penetration
    • Financial services reforms
    • Significant urbanisation
    • Digitization of public services
    • …many other attractive areas of growth arising off the back of India digitization

Sector Focus

Examples of some areas where UAF will look to invest



IoT (industrial and home)
Hardware (robotics and automation systems, scanning and security systems, defence equipment)
Security and surveillance applications
AI driven software assistants in logistics, travel and hospitality
Fintech (payments, forex, trading, financial research)
Edtech (content, online learning platforms)
Health-tech (smart devices, preventive healthcare products)
Agri-tech (surveillance, smart irrigation, robots)
eCommerce
SaaS

BENEFITS OF THE ENTERPRISE INVESTMENT SCHEME (EIS)

EIS comprises a variety of tax benefits available to UK tax paying individuals, subject to their investments complying with the relevant conditions and requirements. Tax reliefs include:


  • EIS Income Tax relief : 30% EIS Income Tax relief, up to maximum investment of £1,000,000 in any tax year
  • Captial Gains Tax deferral : deferral of capital gains tax on the disposal of other assets in the period of 3 years prior to and 12 months after the qualifying EIS investment, for the life of the EIS investment
  • No Income or Capital Gains Tax : no income or capital gains tax on realisations of EIS investments (provided the investments have been held for at least 3 years without breach of the EIS rules)
  • EIS Loss Relief : Income Tax relief from investment losses, reducing the potential loss on a £100,000 investment to £38,500 for a 45% rate tax-payer
  • Inheritance Tax relief : 100% Inheritance Tax relief (provided the investments have been held for at least 2 years at time of death)
  • Neither Ascension Unicorn LLP or Larpent Newton & Co Ltd provide tax advice. Please consult an independent tax advisor if you are considering investing in the Fund

Co-investors

Sample of recent Ascension co-investors