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AENU: Berlin-based millionaire founder brothers launch €100M evergreen fund to invest in impact startups

AENU team
Image credits: AENU

Berlin-based private impact fund AENU has launched a unique evergreen impact tech fund with an initial volume of €100 million. It aims to manage over €500 million in fund capital by 2026.

Who invested in AENU?

The first closing of the fund has been 60% oversubscribed with investors limited to the family and friends of the AENU team on an invitation-only basis. They include E.R. Capital 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.

How will funds be used?

The fund will gradually open up to the broader market over the coming quarters. It focuses on making long-term investments in impact-driven companies that solve the climate crisis and advance social equality.

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. The investment ticket sizes will initially range from €500k up to €5 million.

Fabian Heilemann, Founder & CEO of AENU said: “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 evergreen fund AENU.

Ferry Heilemann, AENU-Founder and Partner added: “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.“

Siobhan Brewster, Partner, noted: “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, said: “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.“

Portfolio of AENU

AENU was founded by millionaire entrepreneur brothers Fabian and Ferry Heilemann in Berlin. The siblings also founded Forto as FreightHub in 2016 which eventually became a logistics tech unicorn and also got backing from Softbank recently.

The fund invests multi-stage in climate-tech and social impact in Europe and the US. The combination of AENU’s unique fund structure and investment strategy is what sets the firm apart.

Its 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.

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