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Impact Shakers launches €20m VC fund to back diverse founders

Published: 26 April 2024

The new venture fund will invest in European early-stage startups in the climate tech, impact infrastructure and inclusion tech sectors, led by diverse founders who are often overlooked by financial institutions.

Yonca Braeckman and Alina Klarner of Impact Shakers have launched a new fund, aimed at supporting impactful companies with diverse founders| Photo by Impact Shakers

Impact Shakers, a Belgian investment firm that aims to tackle societal and environmental challenges through inclusive entrepreneurship, has launched a €20m venture fund. The new fund will be investing in the areas of climate tech, impact infrastructure and inclusion tech.

“The main aim is to invest in diverse teams,” Alina Klarner, general partner at Impact Shakers Ventures and head of ventures at Impact Shakers, told Impact Investor. “Building and scaling impactful businesses, it can be environmental or it can be social impact, at the early stages to pre-seed and seed from across Europe.”

One of the main drivers behind starting the new fund “is just how little capital goes to diverse founders”, Klarner said, adding there is “enormous potential” in an “overlooked part of the market”.

Victrix family office

The new fund has attracted a number of family offices and high-net-worth individuals as investors, Klarner said. The fund also secured the support from Belgian family office Victrix, which came on board as its anchor investor. Victrix is the family holding of Belgian heiress Virginie Saverys, a member of one of the country’s oldest shipping dynasties.

“At Victrix, we believe in enabling strong teams looking to drive systemic change,” said Basile Aloy, chief executive officer of Victrix. “We were impressed by the Impact Shakers team, their network and access to dealflow, as well as their ability to catalyse the ecosystem towards positive change.”

Bucking the trend

Market sentiment among European VCs hit record lows last year, partly due to difficulties in raising new funds, according to a survey by the European Investment Fund.

“Anyone raising a first fund will tell you that it’s a tough experience,” said Klarner. But a lot of its investors, especially the ones coming in with the fund’s first close, “are very aligned with the impact mission, and are very aligned with the diversity mission, and also believe in our approach”.

Klarner highlighted the fact Impact Shakers has been around since 2018, and in that time has built and ecosystem of over 300 partners across investors, academia and other accelerator programmes.

“So everything we do is very ecosystem-led and very collaborative, and I think that resonated,” said Klarner. “And with this fund, we’re doing a venture accelerator model. So we’re bringing some of that expertise to help the businesses succeed, set them up with everything they need to scale faster and to scale sustainably.”

Yonca Braeckman, founder and chief executive officer of Impact Shakers and general partner at Impact Shakers Ventures, said: “Each of us has a role to play on the path to success, and to do this at the highest level of excellence, ideas of hierarchy and competition are simply harmful.”

“Collaboration and vulnerability are key to systems change and will allow us to focus on building the most impactful and successful solutions and less on ego and short-term winning,” Braeckman aadded.


The team at Impact Shakers Ventures plans to select between 6 to 8 startups each year for an initial investment of €150,000. Following a six-month impact acceleration programme, a potential follow-on investment of up to €1.5m may follow.

The fund has already signed up its first portfolio company before the first close, the German startup Faircado, which was co-founded by Evoléna de Wilde d’Estmael. Faircado has developed an AI-powered browser plug-in that helps consumers find cheaper second-hand alternatives when shopping online by searching from a database of more than 10 million products from 70 different partners.

“It is an absolute pleasure for us to collaborate with investors who truly share our values and vision,” said De Wilde d’Estmael, who won a €1,000,000 prize at the Slush100 pitching competition in Helsinki for startups in December.

Impact Shakers said it would be announcing the names of more impact startups in the coming weeks.

Klarner is hoping Impact Shakers will be able to “ignite a profound shift, catalysing tenfold in investments into diverse impact founders from the ecosystem”. Supporting talent who may not “look like the current Google search of successful founders will not only create more impact for all, but will also be the most financially rewarding path going forward”, she added.

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