The Story

Read our story to learn where and how Impacc’s idea were born.

The Impacc Story

Impacc is the story of misfits. One of them had a distinguished career in business. After an international education and an Oxford PhD, he started out in business, interning at McKinsey and climbing the corporate ladder at Procter&Gamble to leading the innovation unit of one of its major business units. But his heart wasn’t in it; it was in trying to take all these great tools of business he had at his disposal and use them to drive social change and make the world a better place. He changed sides and ran a major development aid organisation, only to find out that his focus on results was at odds with the way charities operate.

The other, a human geographer following his passion to live and work in developing countries, worked his way up in development cooperation to become country director for one of Europe’s biggest aid organisations. While his heart was in it, he got increasingly frustrated by the “end-of-project logic” of development cooperation: development aid spends monies in “projects” and the projects end when the money is gone. How much more sustainable could development aid be if it followed a business logic where money isn’t spent once but invested to generate returns over and over again?

And then a third person entered the scene: a research economist, professor and lecturer at the distinguished London School of Economics, founder of a peace research institute, specialising in the impact assessment of development aid. He had worked with many aid organisations but had yet to find one that genuinely put learning from failures and successes at the heart of its DNA.

They knew each other before: working together, going to school together, but they had never thought about going into business together. Then, in the summer of 2019, they got together under an apple tree somewhere between Berlin and Munich in Germany and dreamt up a new kind of development aid: an NGO that would act like a business, a non-profit business that would truly put social change at the core of everything it did; an organisation that would be brutally honest about results, about impact, about the mistakes it makes along the way, and how it would learn from it.

This is the story of Impacc. We were three white European males, a fact we can’t change. But we are proud that, within a year, we have gender-balance in our leadership and are close to ethnic balance, as well. We don’t think ours is the only way, or even the best way, to make the world a better place. But it’s an alternative to how things are usually done. We believe that the world is getting better and that there can be a good life for all. But better isn’t good enough, and life isn’t good enough for all. That’s why we founded Impacc. We hope you join our movement.


The Impacc milestones so far:

2019 September → Strategy set out
December → Company registered
2020 February → First ventures in pipeline
April → East Africa hub set up in Addis Ababa
May → Hamburg office set up
July → First venture MakaPads funded and first staff hired
August → Funding secured from Siemens Foundation
October → BCG DV social venture program won
November → Funding secured from Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung
December → Major BMZ funding secured from German government
2021 January → First staff hired in Hamburg and Kenya
February → MakaPads Joint Venture registered in Uganda
March → Impacc Stove training centre set up in Ethiopia
Outlook → Establish crowdfunding platform
→ Develop scaling platform
→ Onboard new ventures
→ Create and test impact model



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