Sustainability/Climate Tech/News/ Finnish unicorn RELEX’s founders launch €100m charitable foundation RELEX's cofounders and first employee have put €10m in cash and €100m in RELEX stock into the endeavor. By Freya Pratty 8 December 2022 Relex cofounder Johanna Småros. Relex cofounder Johanna Småros. \Sustainability A bioengineered houseplant will clean your air — for $179 By Freya Pratty 23 February 2023 Sustainability/Climate Tech/News/ Finnish unicorn RELEX’s founders launch €100m charitable foundation RELEX's cofounders and first employee have put €10m in cash and €100m in RELEX stock into the endeavor. By Freya Pratty 8 December 2022 The team behind Finnish unicorn RELEX Solutions, which runs a supply chain optimisation platform, is launching a new €100m foundation to donate to groups fighting climate change and working to reduce inequality. The RELEX Foundation was launched by RELEX’s three cofounders, along with its first employee. They’ve put €10m in cash and €100m in RELEX stock into the endeavor. The company was valued at €5bn earlier this year after a €500m raise led by Blackstone — the largest round ever in Finland. It has raised a total of $784m and employs 1,304 people, according to Dealroom. European tech philanthropy The foundation is one of the first examples of private European tech companies funnelling profits into charitable causes — something more often seen in the US, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation being the most famous example. There are, however, examples of significant philanthropy by individuals in European tech, such as Northzone’s Pär-Jörgen Pärson and wife Annika Sten Pärson dedicating €100m to mental health, diversity and inclusion, and Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström and his wife Catherine’s Zennström Philanthropies. What the foundation’s backing RELEX’s foundation will back “organisations and initiatives battling the world’s biggest problems.” That includes, the company says, charities, not-for-profits, foundations and research organisations. Between 2023 and 2025, donations will focus on mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss, as well as reducing inequality and poverty and reducing the marginalisation of certain groups of young people. “It’s important for us to reinvest RELEX’s success into causes that accelerate positive impact in the world,” says Marko Nikula, the first employee of the company, who is now chairman of the board at the RELEX Foundation. The foundation’s income is tied to the success of RELEX, but the team reiterate that it’ll act as an independent entity. RELEX was founded in 2005 and runs a cloud-based platform aimed at helping retailers reduce waste, costs and manual work throughout their supply chains. Freya Pratty is a reporter at Sifted. She tweets from @FPratty and writes our climate tech newsletter — you can sign up here. The headline has been updated to reflect the fact that it is RELEX’s founders and first employee who have started the foundation, and not the company itself. Related Articles Searching for gigacorns: Meet the VC impact analysts By Sarah Drumm Click here to read more Mapped: Europe’s biodiversity startups By Freya Pratty Click here to read more Tech Nation launches its first programme for sustainability scaleups Supported by Tech Nation Net Zero Click here to read more These 40+ European VCs are on the hunt for sustainability startups By Connor Bilboe Click here to read more Most Read 1 \Healthtech Is Daniel Ek’s new body scanner worth the hype? Sifted tried it out 2 \Venture Capital VC diversity needs to change — and white men need to take responsibility 3 \Venture Capital New €3.75bn European Investment Fund pot to back late-stage VCs 4 \Sustainability Counteract closes £15m fund for carbon removal solutions 5 \Mobility Was the $5bn that VCs plugged into escooters worth it?