HomeFundingLondon-based VC Ascension reaches first €19.8 million close of new Tech4Good pre-seed...

London-based VC Ascension reaches first €19.8 million close of new Tech4Good pre-seed fund

Ascension VC, a leading early-stage venture capital fund, has announced a €19.8 million first close of its new institutional impact fund which will back talented founders leveraging technology to build more resilient societies. A second close of the overall €58.27 million will follow in 2025.

Ascension Fund III (“AFIII”)’ aims to reduce social inequalities by allowing tech to serve a mass market and low-income audience. The first close of AFIII is backed by a mix of existing and new investors, including anchor Big Society Capital.

Other investors include Housing Association Places for People, Esmee Fairbairn, and several Family Offices and HNW individuals. It also includes participation from Ascension-backed founders, notably Wagestream and Percent.

“At AFIII, we believe in the power of technology to drive positive change,” commented Jean de Fougerolles, Ascension’s Managing Partner. “Our fund is dedicated to identifying commercially astute mission-driven founders who are at the forefront of key tech trends, capable of delivering attractive venture-style returns while reducing social inequalities.”

Led by Jean de Fougerolles and Emma Steele, AFIII brings together rich experience in identifying and backing leading Tech4Good businesses. Over the past five years, they have demonstrated that impactful investments can yield significant returns, highlighted by the early acquisitions of Credit Kudos by Apple and Guardian Angel by Octopus Wealth.

Emma Steele, Partner at Ascension, added: “What’s so exciting about this fund is that it sits at the intersection of major tech trends such as AI/ML, digital health, future of work, fintech, energy decentralisation & decarbonisation, reinforcing the funds’ ambition of achieving venture-level returns whilst producing deep social impact. We’re on the hunt for impact dragons! (aka fund returners).”

Gabriel Ng, Investment Director at anchor investor, Big Society Capital, said: “We are excited to back Ascension Fund III and the ‘impact dragons’ that they’ll be investing in. The cost of living crisis hits the most vulnerable in our society hardest and there is a substantial role that Tech4Good ventures can play in redressing some of these inequalities, both by mitigating their impacts as well as addressing their root causes. We have seen companies backed by Ascension do just that in their Fair By Design fund, tackling the poverty premium, and as a consequence generating outsize financial performance; we look forward to seeing a new crop of ventures demonstrating that impact is a source of value, supported by Ascension’s venture-building and impact management and measurement skills.”

Other rapidly scaling businesses from Ascension’s Fair By Design fund include Wagestream, Tembo, Plend (building financial resilience), and Switchee (reducing fuel poverty), with Urban Legend and Better Nature, both tackling obesity from Ascension’s Good Food fund. Ascension also collaborated with the Nationwide Incubator, Wayra Accelerator, Aviva Foundation and Barrow Cadbury Trust, to increase the impact and commercial reach of its portfolio. 

In a unique partnership, AFIII has joined forces with Bulbshare, a pioneering platform where technology meets human insight, ensuring that every investment is informed by Lived Experience and is relevant to its intended audience.

Stefano De Marzo
Stefano De Marzo
Stefano De Marzo is the Head of News at EU-Startups. He has been extensively covering startups, venture capital and innovation ecosystems, including contributions to numerous publications such as Sifted, Entrepreneur and Forbes. Through his work as an editor and writer, he continues to shape the narrative surrounding the best stories of the tech world.
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