100M EUR for impact startups: Pirate Impact becomes AENU and launches its new fund to bring systemic change to venture capital
- The fund invests multi-stage in climate-tech and social impact in Europe and the US. Existing portfolio includes Heirloom (carbon capture) Labster (VR-education), Monta (EV-charging), Next Gen Foods (alternative proteins) and XFuel (bio-fuels), with co-investors including Breakthrough Energy, Lowercarbon Capital, Temasek, a16z and USV.
- AENU founders Fabian and Ferry Heilemann have compiled a high profile and diverse team that brings together unparalleled expertise in venture capital, entrepreneurship and impact technologies. The founders have committed a substantial part of their net worth to the fund. The first closing of the fund has been 60% oversubscribed.
- The combination of AENU’s unique fund structure and investment strategy is what sets the firm apart. The team aims to drive systemic change in venture capital towards impact, accessibility and stakeholder alignment.
Berlin, July 5, 2022. Leading the change: Pirate Impact becomes AENU and launches its impact tech fund, taking impact investing to the next level. The fund has an initial volume of €100m and aims to manage over €500m in fund capital by 2026. It focuses on stage-agnostic long-term investments in impact-driven companies based in the EU and the US, that solve the climate crisis and advance social equality. To align the interests of people, planet and profit, AENU applies strict scientific impact criteria, driven by its in-house impact-team. The fund targets technologies that have the potential to avoid or remove 100 Mt CO2e at scale or significantly improve the quality of life of millions of people. Investment ticket sizes range initially from €500.000 up to €5m.
The team around the AENU founders – the experienced VC investors, serial entrepreneurs and committed impact-activists Fabian Heilemann and Ferry Heilemann – aims to establish a new and urgently needed holistic view of investment success, aligning high impact with high financial returns.
Fabian Heilemann, Founder & CEO of AENU says: “Chasing profits blindly has led to collateral damage to our planet and society. It’s time for a system upgrade. We need to transform towards Impact Capitalism as the new operating system for our society and economy in the 21st century. We want to drive the change towards this goal – that’s why we created our fund AENU.
Ferry Heilemann, AENU-Founder and Partner adds: “Our mission is to bring impact to the center of the VC ecosystem, increase accessibility for underrepresented target groups and achieve next level alignment between investors and entrepreneurs. We invest in technologies that contribute to solving the climate crisis or advancing social equality.“
The AENU senior management team is complemented by Siobhan Brewster as Partner, formerly of Macquarie in the US and Partner at European early-stage investor Amplifier, and Melina Sánchez Montañés, Principal & VP Impact, who brings comprehensive impact expertise, an academic background from Harvard and Yale and investment experience from Impact First in Israel. Together, the management team has an unparalleled track record as self-made entrepreneurs and multi-stage investors, investing in and scaling outstanding climate tech and social impact businesses.
Siobhan Brewster, Partner, underlines: “Around 80 percent of our investments are geared towards climate impact with CO2 avoided or removed as the core impact KPI. The other 20 percent of the capital invested aims at advancing social equality and people‘s empowerment in the global north and the global south. We are looking for the game changers that will contribute to a diverse and meaningful portfolio.“
Melina Sánchez Montañés, Principal & VP Impact, says: “The climate and social impact of the companies we invest in must be intentional, measurable, net positive, interlocked and capable of reaching a meaningful scope relative to the problem being addressed. To align impact with financial gains, we target business ideas that have proprietary technology with a high degree of defensibility at the core of its DNA.“
Moreover, a high-profile set of Strategic Advisors and Venture Partners is supporting the AENU team, including Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schwenker (former CEO/Chairman of Roland Berger), Dr. h. c. Beate Heraeus (education philanthropist), Professor Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer (Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate) and David Goldberg (Founder and CEO of Founder’s Pledge).
The first closing of the fund has been 60% oversubscribed. Investors have so far been limited to the family and friends of the AENU team on an invitation-only basis. They include E.R. Capital Holding as the first cornerstone-LP and Unicorn-CEOs such as Lawrence Leuschner (TIER), Michael Wax (Forto) and Niklas Zenstrom (Skype / Atomico), as well as a number of German family offices. The founders have committed a substantial part of their net worth to the fund. The fund will gradually open up to the broader market over the coming quarters. “We see the strong interest of our investors as a confirmation of our fund’s mission. Now is the right time to take impact investing to the next level. With AENU, we lead the change and invite the ecosystem to join” says Fabian Heilemann.
AENU is an impact fund that invests multi-stage in climate-tech and social impact companies in the EU & US. AENU drives systemic transformation in venture capital towards impact, accessibility and stakeholder-alignment. Visit aenu.com or follow us on Linkedin and Twitter.