April 19, 2024

This new early-stage VC is making founder mental health a priority

Impact Shakers announces first close of a €20m impact fund

Amy Lewin

2 min read

Yonca Braeckman, cofounder and CEO at Impact Shakers.

Impact Shakers, a new Belgium-based VC, has raised just over €5m of a target €20m fund to invest in early-stage impact startups across Europe.

It will run one accelerator per year, for four years, and invest in six to eight companies from each cohort. It writes initial cheques of €150k and reserves up to €1.5m per company for follow-ons. 

The six-month programme will focus on founder wellbeing and company impact, says Yonca Braeckman, cofounder and CEO. Each founder will have a personal coach, and will also be encouraged to join “founder circles” to support one another. Impact Shakers will also ask for ‘information rights’ (commonly used by VCs in term sheets to give them regular updates on a startup’s financial status), in order to “have this as a fixed item of importance in business growth”, says Braeckman. She hopes other investors will follow suit. 


“The numbers that have been consistently published about founders' mental health state are staggering,” says Braeckman. “We as a startup ecosystem need to do something — and urgently. We need to prioritise the people building the solutions of the future and we are convinced that we will build better, stronger, more sustainable and more resilient businesses as a consequence.”

The fund’s LPs are primarily impact-focused family offices and individuals (almost half of whom are women), says Braeckman. Its anchor investor is Victrix, a Belgian family office. 

“We want Impact Shakers to ignite a profound shift, catalysing 10x investments into diverse impact founders,” says general partner Alina Klarner. “We are on a mission to show everyone what we see within our ecosystem every day — that supporting talent that might 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.” 

From accelerator to VC

Impact Shakers began life in 2018, running incubator and accelerator programmes for diverse impact founders.

In 2022, it launched a microfund to try to combat the lack of funding for female and diverse founders — which “stayed stuck at 1-2%”.

The rolling microfund, which is around €200k (but grows each month), writes cheques of €10k-25k. Investors can get involved for as little as €250. So far, the 101 backers of the fund have an equal gender split, and 15% are from a diverse background.

Amy Lewin

Amy Lewin is Sifted’s editor and cohost of Startup Europe — The Sifted Podcast , and writes Up Round, a weekly newsletter on VC. Follow her on X and LinkedIn