Ascension Private Equity Fund announces first close

The private equity fund selects businesses that can weather a constantly evolving macroeconomic landscape

Ascension Private Equity Fund is targeting final closing commitments of R 1.5bn.

Ascension Private Equity Fund I (APEF) officially achieved its first close on June 21 2021, with first close commitments of R350m. APEF is managed by Ascension Capital Partners Fund Manager, a majority black-owned fund manager.

APEF operates as a sector-agnostic fund targeting equity investments in innovative businesses across multiple sectors including health care, food security, fast-moving consumer goods, water, sanitation, manufacturing and technology-driven businesses. The fund aims to invest in SA businesses with an emphasis on those that may have exposure to, or can expand significantly into, other high-growth markets.

The main thematic drivers that inform its investment principles include identifying global trends driven by politics, culture, ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) principles and demographics, or a combination thereof. The private equity fund is selective about investment decisions and selects businesses that can weather a constantly evolving macroeconomic landscape. Considerations that inform its investment thesis include businesses that:

  • can withstand or capitalise on the disruptive impact of the fourth industrial revolution; and
  • cater to and/or enhance basic human needs and a better quality of life.

APEF is focused on finding innovative businesses that appeal to changing global trends. It is targeting final closing commitments of R 1.5bn.

MD Kabelo Moja says: “We are humbled to have achieved this milestone and believe that in light of the macroeconomic climate we are now in, we are able to capitalise on value-enhancing opportunities to preserve and create jobs, drive value and transformation, and contribute to the SA economic growth narrative. Private equity continues to outperform and grow as an alternate asset class that’s attractive to many institutional investors looking for portfolio diversification.”

“The first close target for Ascension provides us with an opportunity to actively invest and contribute to the economy,” says chief investment officer Kabelo Senoelo. “The fund will look at investing equity cheque sizes of between R50m and R150m as these mid-cap businesses, which meet our investment criteria, show a higher probability of growth trajectory in the current environment.

“We believe the post-Covid environment will present good investment opportunities and therefore are delighted that we are in a position to deploy capital. The fund will work with the management teams and founders of investee companies to add strategic value. We have a well-structured pipeline of transactions that are at different stages of analysis. The fund will remain open for new investors for the next 24 months to allow us to reach our final closing commitment amount.

“The fund looks to invest in companies that provide some capital protection, underpinned by significant growth potential and supported by an invested management team with an entrepreneurial vision.

“In light of global trends, the objective of APEF is not limited to commercial returns to its investors, but also to support ESG principles and their development through active implementation of robust globally accepted ESG standards in the policies of all our underlying investee companies. The capital deployed by APEF will be recognised by investee companies as being 100% black-owned.”

COO Naairah Motala says: “Ascension strives to leave an impact beyond financial return. We are people-focused, collaborative and offer authentic leadership in business. We care about communities, the environment, transformation, and truly empowering people. These will be the main motivators behind our investment activities.”

Kabelo Moja

Chief Executive Officer

Kabelo Senoelo

Chief Investment Officer

Naairah Motala

Chief Operating Officer

Tinyiko Ngwenya

Senior Associate


Contact the team if you have any queries.