Skip to main content

Ascension Ventures Hone in on Format Zone

Ascension Ventures Hone in on Format Zone
Monday 25 January 2016

Ascension Ventures Hone in on Format Zone

Back to News
Monday 25 January 2016

Ascension Ventures Hone in on Format Zone


Ascension Ventures is pleased to announce its investment from the ASCEND SEIS Fund II into Birmingham based start-up Formatzone, which specialises in fast-tracking production, broadcast and distribution of high-quality TV formats, working in partnership with leading national and international creative talent.

Other investors in Formatzone’s £400,000 round include institutional investors Finance Birmingham on behalf of Birmingham City Council and Midven EALP. Format Zone has also secured partnership agreements with Birmingham City University’s new studio complex, Parkside Mediahouse and Birmingham’s Big Centre TV.

Mark Rowland, co-founder and CEO of Formatzone commented:

“There has been a shortage of innovation in the UK format market for a while now, so myself and co-founder, Ben Robinson, decided to embark on a journey to provide a new, fast route to market for unscripted formats, essentially a ‘one stop shop’ for new and existing creative talent.” He added, “Ascension’s understanding of both the tech and media space made the fund a natural first port of call when establishing the business and seeking investment to take us to the next level.’
Managing Director Ben Robinson said, “Based in such a young and diverse city, this is a fantastic opportunity to disrupt the conventional TV commissioning model, and we are looking forward to exciting creative collaborations in the years ahead”.

Ascension Ventures CEO Jean de Fougerolles added:
“I have worked with Mark on various projects over the duration of my career and am really impressed with the way he and Ben are leveraging studio resources, their contacts within the national and international distribution markets, and their unique vision for how Formatzone can provide an innovative and cost-effective route-to-market for UK talent.” He added, “ Formatzone has the potential to put Birmingham at the forefront of disruption within the conventional TV commissioning industry.”
Sue Summers, Chief Executive of Finance Birmingham, said:

“This deal further strengthens the partnership between Finance Birmingham and Ascension Ventures which strives to provide working capital and specialist expertise to high growth businesses like Formatzone. It is an incredibly innovative business that is doing things differently to great effect, and our support will allow Mark and Ben to pursue their expansion plans and keep this momentum going.”
Renowned for bringing UK creations including Robot Wars, Paradise Hotel and Supernanny to US screens, the Company will leverage Mark’s extensive experience in taking and producing formats in international markets and BAFTA nominee Ben’s ability to produce and direct award winning TV programmes and manage production teams. The duo bring a wealth of experience to Formatzone.

Ascension Ventures will be announcing further investments from the ASCEND SEIS Fund II over the coming weeks.