European venture capitalists unite to accelerate impact and tackle world problems


  • A wide-ranging collection of 120 VCs including Balderton and Northzone have come together to accelerate VC investment and increase support for companies creating positive social and environmental impact.
  • Community will encourage impact best practice in venture investing to combat challenging problems worldwide.
  • Part of a wider trend as venture firms recognise the link between impact and commercial returns, and that focus on ESG is not enough to protect their businesses and the world around them.

A collection of leading venture capitalists has united to found ImpactVC, which aims to drive venture capital’s ability to solve challenges including the cost-of-living crisis, mental ill health and climate change.

The founding of ImpactVC is part of a growing momentum establishing impact investing at the heart of venture capital; investing in the most important companies of the next decade and addressing social and environmental concerns.

Europe accounts for over half of global investment into early-stage purpose-driven tech companies. The number of European impact unicorns is growing at pace;with a rise from 15 in 2019 to 42 in 2023, showing a sectoral desire to emphasise impact creation along with the potential to scale impressively.

Capitalising on this, ImpactVC members have £12 billion AUM including top-tier VCs.

Balderton, Connect and Northzone and impact specialists such as Eka Ventures and Bethnal Green Ventures. These firms have invested in cutting edge impact startups which target global problems directly such as:

  • Wagestream, a financial wellbeing app supporting frontline workers with money management helping to combat the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Open Bionics, which creates assistive devices such as their Hero Arm to help those including children who need enhanced mobility and independence.
  • CarbonCure, which manufactures technology that introduces recycled CO₂into fresh concrete to reduce its carbon footprint without compromising performance.

ImpactVC is supported through sponsorship from BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, NCM Fund Services, Taylor Vinters, Vauban, Katapult Foundation, Morgan Lewis, and Amazon Web Services. Sponsors have a range of interests in impact and venture, including continuing efforts to support social good, a track record of investment in funds and a desire to gain and share insights from other members of the community.

With almost 200 individual sign ups even before the formal launch, the community will share practical tools and ideas to help VCs back and build high impact companies. ImpactVC was incubated within Big Society Capital, the UK’s leading investor, and is shaped by its members, focusing primarily on building the community and developing resources.

The community has already been active with a kick-off event attended by over 60 attendees. Speakers at the event included the founder of impact startup Wagestream, leading VCs such as Northzone and impact specialists including Eka Ventures and AENU with plans for further engagement.

The first major resource produced by ImpactVC is the VC Impact Playbook, which provides guides for making and managing impact investments, including assessing returns and risks, and information on measurement, evaluation and reporting. The playbook is the market-leading example of a framework for early-stage VCs to focus on impact and represents the beginning of community-created guidance which will offer support for new and established VCs alike.

As focus on impact grows from investors, founders, consumers and employees this community will be ever more valuable for providing world-leading guidance and collecting experience and resources in impact venture.

Anna Skarborg, Head of Sustainability at Northzone, said: “We are seeing companies with huge potential to scale and develop appear in the impact venture space. At the same time, we need to better understand how to combine this potential with our generalist platform and traditional focus. ImpactVC can be vital in helping us sharing learnings, best practices and collaborate better across generalist and impact VCs.”

Jon Coker, Founding Partner, Eka Ventures, said: “This is an exciting step forward for impact venture. The best methods for creating positive outcomes are constantly evolving and by pooling our ideas, expertise and experience we can create an ecosystem that is effective as possible for investors, startups and society as a whole.”

Melina Sánchez Montañés, Investment Principal & VP Impact, AENU, said: “To fulfil the promise of the good intentions in the VC space, there needs to be alignment on what impact represents and how it is best achieved. ImpactVC is a fantastic opportunity to channel that and ensure that VCs are best prepared to be successful.”

*State of European Tech 2022


Note to Editors

Douglas Sloan, Managing Director at Big Society Capital, is available for interview on request.

For further information, please contact: Ian Young, PR and Media Officer

About Big Society Capital

Big Society Capital exists to improve the lives of people in the UK through social impact investing. We unite ideas, expertise and capital to create investment solutions for the UK’s social challenges, supporting organisations that deliver both positive social impact and sustainable financial returns. So far, we have helped channel £2.7 billion* into investments tackling a wide range of problems such as homelessness, mental ill health and childhood obesity. To widen access to social impact investing, we have partnered with Schroders, a global asset and wealth manager, to launch the listed Schroder BSC Social Impact Trust plc. As the portfolio manager, weprovide investors with high impact investments that contribute to solutions to social challenges alongside targeting long-term capital growth and income.*As at end of Q2 2022.