Ascent III Achieves First Close on $50M –

BOSTON – Ascent Venture Partners III L.P. notched a $50 million first close in early October, and Managing Director Leigh Michl expected the vehicle to wrap at its $125 million target by year’s end. Launched in May (VCJ, July, page 18), the fund is the first effort of Ascent Venture Management Inc., the venture capital group that earlier this year spun out of mutual fund and investment management firm, Pioneer Group (VCJ, March, page 5). The group became independent when Pioneer decided to concentrate its efforts on its main businesses, and Landmark Partners Inc. purchased Pioneer’s interests in the venture funds managed by the Ascent group.

Ascent backs companies from a variety of industries and at all stages. In marketing the new vehicle, Ascent’s investment team, which includes Managing Directors Walter Dick, Christopher Lynch, Frank Polestra and Michl, targeted limited partners of the last Pioneer fund, Pioneer Ventures II, a diversified fund with 20 limited partners. Eighteen of those L.P.s, mostly small pensions, have made commitments to the Ascent fund, Michl said. Of the $75 million committed to the Ascent vehicle by press time, almost two-thirds came from institutions and the rest from individuals. Michl declined to name investors. The fund features a 2.25% management fee and an 80%/20% carried interest split. -S.N.