Cavalry Chronicle
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Cavalry Chronicle

Björn Loose and Martin Janicki

Björn Loose and Martin Janicki promoted to Partners

by the Cavalry Founding Partners

Today we have the honour to introduce our two new partners. Both are long-time companions of ours and have helped shape Cavalry. We have grown with them as a team and they with the team and the challenges. Along the way, both have helped to continue to take the maturity of our portfolio to the next level. Congratulations on becoming partners, Björn Loose and Martin Janicki!

Yet who are Björn and Martin and what drives them?

Björn: the originator of how we maintain relationships with our founders today

Following the founding partners, Björn was the first full-time employee at Cavalry. Back in 2016, he already gathered a lot of experience: Both from the tech ecosystem and the corporate world, experience he had gained in Europe as well as in the US.

Initially, Björn wanted to study physics, but he was missing the practical side of it. So he decided to study industrial engineering (with a focus on mechanical engineering) at TU Braunschweig and later on at TU Berlin. He became a textbook German Engineer, including an often criticised (non-existent) fashion style 😉 From there he went to Rhode Island, where he studied entrepreneurship and innovation. In between, he held positions at Otto Bock and Bose Corporation, where he was fortunate to learn from talented engineers about technically advanced products while enjoying a company culture with a family touch. This is precisely what has left a lasting impression on him, which is reflected in his efforts towards promoting the culture at Cavalry and in our portfolio companies today.

Back in Germany, Björn moved to Berlin in 2013 to dive deeper into the tech ecosystem. As Chairman of START Berlin, he was ideally positioned to do so and also helped bring the tech sector and the established economy closer together. This was followed by positions at Project A in investor relations and at Betterguards, a medical device startup, as Founders Associate.

Finally, he supported establishing the Berlin Talent Summit as a leading recruiting event series in Berlin. During that time, Björn met Claude who was in the process of initiating Cavalry. While the team of Berlin Talent Summit went on to start TalentSpace, Björn decided to join the Cavalry journey.

He initially joined our firm as a Working Student. Back then we did not have the financial means to afford a higher earning colleague and thankfully, Björn accepted an offer way below his pay grade, so opportunity costs, such as risk (we didn’t even do our first close of fund one back then) were high. Björn nevertheless stayed. And worked hard.

Björn has been instrumental in shaping Cavalry and the portfolio for the past 6 years with his nuanced views, diplomatic nature, and analytical ability. Being an engineer at heart, Björn is looking for the ultimate truth in everything he is doing. There must be an explanation for why things happen and how things are working. At the same time, Björn is an extremely humble and curious colleague. This character trait enables him to get along very well with myriad personalities. Björn was e.g. instrumental in convincing successful entrepreneurs such as Gero Decker and Joshua Cornelius to get onboard as LPs. In daily internal Cavalry life, Björn is making sure that the Cavalry spirit is always challenged, adjusted, and passed on to the next generation of investment professionals and other colleagues.

Martin & Björn: Always have a shoulder to lean on for each other
Always have a shoulder to lean on for each other

Björn has been influential in building Cavalry’s operations and team so that our portfolio lacks nothing. With his early support of investments such as PlanRadar or more recently Nory.ai, he has demonstrated how we envision working with founders during the investment process and as portfolio companies thereafter.

Björn is an utter family person and also values harmonious personal relationships in his professional environment.

Martin: The misfit banker turned VC

Martin is one of the few original Berliners at Cavalry. He grew up in Berlin-Schöneberg as the child of Polish parents — an industrial mechanic and a housewife. For obvious reasons, Martin’s father wanted him to study mechanical engineering. But that didn’t feel right to Martin. He felt like “something with business”. After graduating from high school, Martin first travelled around for three years and worked in various jobs to pay the bills. Ultimately, Martin was accepted at the University of St. Gallen and began his desired course of study: Business.

A turning point in Martin’s trajectory was 2012. That’s when he got hold of ‘The Startup Game’ by William H. Draper, which he devoured instantly. His conclusion was: ‘Wow, VC is the coolest thing ever!’. And so history took its course.

But in between came a few months of exchange at Harvard University followed by a scholarship at Hosei University in Tokyo. Martin wrote his Bachelor’s thesis — in keeping with his passion — on the topic of ‘Investment Decision Making in Early Stage Venture Capital’.

Always have each other’s backs
Have each other’s backs

In the meantime, strategist that he is, Martin kept looking at what profiles associates and principals in venture investing have in order to plan his future career. He identified three clusters. The startup founder/entrepreneur, the consultant, and the banker. The latter in particular appealed to Martin and he ended up in London at Credit Suisse as an analyst, doing deals day and night for over three years. Software continued to be a mainstay in his life and so his announcement was: ‘Throw me all the deals that involve software’.

Through a mutual friend, Martin kept running into Rouven until one day he heard that Rouven had co-founded a fund. On a hot July day in 2017, Martin turned up at the Cavalry office. He found the portfolio exciting — the first 10 or so companies at the time. He asked one question: ‘How many term sheets have you lost?’. The answer was: ‘Not a single one’. And that’s how Cavalry and Martin ended up together.

We put a lot of trust in Martin very early on. By now we know very well that if Martin bites on a company, there must be something to it. Martin possesses an innate talent to disassemble any logical argument, or what was meant to be a logical argument when discussing investment opportunities on a weekly basis. Sometimes to the dismay of the respective party, oftentimes a Founding Partner. In his nature, setting himself and others a high bar, he is challenging and curious and does not accept a ‘no’ as an answer. Martin e.g. sourced fantastic portfolio companies for the fund as well as new colleagues that joined — and stayed.

He was instrumental in making us the first outside investor in companies like BRYTER, Flip, SPREAD, and Sofía. Martin believes entrepreneurship is the most important growth engine of the last 200 years. He is fascinated by founders who are willing to put all their eggs in one basket and strives to help them succeed with their vision — the bolder the better.

Martin, Björn, thank you for your loyalty, constant commitment, dedication, and passion! We look forward to many more investments together.

If you are a founder in the pre-seed or seed stage — Martin and Björn are looking forward to meeting you! And we can promise you, it’s a huge treat to work with these two!

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