Activation of the complement system represents an important effector mechanism of endogenous and therapeutic Abs. However, efficient complement activation is restricted to a subset of Abs due to the requirement of multivalent interactions between the Ab Fc regions and the C1 complex. In the present study, we demonstrate that Fc-independent recruitment of C1 by modular bispecific single-domain Abs that simultaneously bind C1q and a surface Ag can potently activate the complement system. Using Ags from hematological and solid tumors, we show that these bispecific Abs are cytotoxic to human tumor cell lines that express the Ag and that the modular design allows a functional exchange of the targeting moiety. Direct comparison with clinically approved Abs demonstrates a superior ability of the bispecific Abs to induce complement-dependent cytotoxicity. The efficacy of the bispecific Abs to activate complement strongly depends on the epitope of the C1q binding Ab, demonstrating that the spatial orientation of the C1 complex upon Ag engagement is a critical factor for efficient complement activation. Collectively, our data provide insight into the mechanism of complement activation and provide a new platform for the development of immunotherapies.