London-based early-stage venture capital firm Ascension Ventures has partnered with Indian counterpart Unicorn India Ventures to launch a cross-border evergreen fund.
The Unicorn Ascension EIS Fund will invest in UK-based startups that are building products and services relevant for the Indian market, a statement said.
EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) is a tax relief scheme offered by the UK government through which investors can avail income tax relief for their investments into small companies based in the UK.
The fund aims to raise up to £5 million per year and is expected to announce its first close at £2 million by July-end this year.
It expects to invest £1-3 million at the pre-Series A stage and aims to strike six to eight deals annually.
“The fund will unlock significant synergies between the high-tech products and services emerging out of the UK and the numerous opportunities arising because of the significant digitization that is underway in India,” said Nina Amin, chairperson, investment committee, Unicorn Ascension EIS Fund.
Amin was partner and head of Asian markets with consulting firm KPMG UK. Currently, she is consulting with KPMG UK and also serves as a non-executive director and chair of audit committee at Koovs, an AIM listed e-commerce company with operations in India.
Bhaskar Majumdar, partner at Unicorn Ascension EIS Fund, said that the team has already identified compelling investment opportunities.
The investment teams will be based in Ascension’s London office and Unicorn India’s offices in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Ascension Ventures and Unicorn India
Ascension Ventures had launched the UK’s first Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) in 2012. It has invested in over 70 UK-based early-stage technology and digital businesses across 10 funds and has more than £22 million under management.
Unicorn India was founded in early-2015 by Anil Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar. The VC firm invests in early-stage startups in sectors such as consumer, enterprise, healthcare and deep technology.
Unicorn had floated its maiden fund in 2015 with a target corpus of Rs 150 crore (worth $23 million then), with an aim to build a portfolio of 30 companies. In December 2015, Unicorn hit the first close of its maiden fund at $6 million (Rs 40 crore).
Its portfolio includes Boxx.ai, GrabOnRent, Inc42, NeuroEquilibrium, Pharmarack, Sequretek, SmartCoin and VanityCube.
In November last year, Unicorn launched its maiden debt fund with a target corpus of $93 million (Rs 600 crore). The fund will look to invest in 10 ventures a year, with an average ticket size of Rs 20 crore ($3.5 million).