Why Pirate Impact?

We look back at a journey of 20 years as self-made entrepreneurs and 10 years as venture capital investors in technology. Our personal motivation changed fundamentally along the way, driven by the experiences that we made and the insights that we gained. We came to realise in 2015, that we desired to give back to society & environment. We wanted to stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. It led us to change our ethics, our lifestyles, the way we run our businesses, the strategies by which we invest and the political decisions that we support. It also led us to co-found the for-impact organization Leaders for Climate Action, to become pledgers, ambassadors and climate-champions at Founders Pledge and to financially support the climate action publication The Beam. We moved on to built the climate-tech investment practice at Earlybird and Ferry even changed roles from Co-Founder & CEO of Forto to Chairman in order to dedicate substantially all of his time to climate tech and impact investing. He recently gave a TEDx Talk on the climate crisis and wrote a book on Climate Action for Entrepreneurs.

The creation of Pirate Impact in 2021 is the crystallisation of our ambition to make an even broader and deeper impact. We aim to address fundamental systemic change in the face of an existential environmental and social threat to humanity. Our goal is to take the concept of capitalism to the next level by transforming today’s financial capitalism into tomorrow’s impact capitalism. This is the solution to align what has been dis-aligned since the advent of the industrial age in the 18th century: The interests of people, planet and profits. This is what needs to be done urgently. And it needs the support of a broad range of stakeholders: Citizens, Entrepreneurs, Managers, Investors and Governments. Pirate Impact is our joint effort to inspire and empower these stakeholders to reflect on systemic change and to jointly advance Impact Capitalism.

What is Pirate Impact?

Pirate Impact encompasses two elements with the idea of mutual reinforcement:

Pirate Impact Blog: We cover a range of topics in the context of impact capitalism, technology-for-good and impact-entrepreneurship in order to share our views and know-how and to inspire others to follow. We believe in the power of collaboration and community. Please reach out if you would like to contribute as a guest author: contact@pirate.io

Pirate Impact Capital: Our family-office that we built since 2011 under the brand “Sky & Sand Capital” and that we have recently re-branded to Pirate Impact Capital. Since a decade we invest in venture capital but also across asset-classes like public equities, real-estate and private equity. In 2018 we first started to blend considerations around ESG and impact into our investment strategy. Since 2020, actively investing for environmental & social impact is paramount for us. We have a special focus on stage-agnostic direct investments in climate-tech & social impact companies in EU and US.

Who is the Pirate Crew?

  • Fabian Heilemann

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    An entrepreneur at heart since 2000, Fabian switched his focus to VC investing in 2012 after selling the B2C marketplace DailyDeal to Google Inc. He gained track-record as angel/seed investor with the micro VC Heilemann Ventures before becoming a General Partner at Earlybird in 2016, where he built the climate-tech-practice. Earlybird invests pan-European in early-stage tech-companies and manages assets worth > € 1,5 bn. As an ambitious surfer and former competitive windsurfer, Fabian loves the ocean.
  • Ferry Heilemann

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    Awarded “German Entrepreneur of the Year 2020”, Ferry looks back on 20 years as serial-entrepreneur and co-founder of five companies. Most recently he built Forto as CEO/Co-Founder to a team of > 450, which is one of Europe’s most recognized logistics-tech-companies with > $ 125 mn. in capital raised. Ferry sparked interest in eco-sustainability and climate protection in 2015, which led both brothers to co-founding the charity Leaders for Climate Action in 2019. He is TEDx speaker, climate book author and passionate runner.

Join us

To increase our impact, we are expanding our crew!

We are looking for impact rockstars who are driven by creating a positive impact, who are seeking a job with high responsibility in a flexible, international, and welcoming work environment, and who simply want to support our mission and make a difference.

Please find more details on the open positions below.

Investment intern

Investment associate

Pirate Spirit

A pirate is a rebel with a purpose. We rebel against financial capitalism’s denial of responsibility and its ignorance of the externalities it causes. Our purpose is to transform financial capitalism into impact capitalism, so that our economic system itself becomes an inherent driver of environmental sustainability and social equality.

We are inspired by the progressive socio-economic concepts that some of the Golden-Age-Pirates  developed in the late 18th century. Names like Henry Morgan, Anne Bonny and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach. They lived in an age that was marked by autocratic leadership, economic insecurity and dramatic social inequality. Many of them were former sailors on merchant ships or in the Royal Navy. They decided to move from the center to the edge of society to demonstrate that it was possible to establish an alternative system. A system that was build on a combination of egalitarianism, solidarity and individual merit. Pirate crews actually pioneered elements of social security and fair pay. In some cases they even practiced racial tolerance and equality. Pirates where also ahead of the times by understanding the advantages of constitutional democracy – a model they adopted more than fifty years before the United States were founded. The history of Golden-Age-Pirates is a showcase for groundbreaking innovation at the edges of the system, that ultimately influenced the mainstream society for the better.

Learn more about the spirit, strategies and economics of Golden-Age-Pirates: