Meet the Team: Carsten, General Partner and Investment Manager — Officer, intrapreneur and angel turned VC
We continue our “Meet the Team” series, by introducing you to Carsten Salling — Investment Manager since January 2020 and General Partner since August 2021. Leveraging his experiences as army officer, program leader, corporate entrepreneur and angel investor, Carsten is managing our investment operations and building a platform for our team to create maximum value for our portfolio companies.
“Through my professional roles, my studies and my time as angel investor, I have realized that my talent and passion is greatest in the intersection of investing, innovation and building high performing teams, hence building a VC firm and being a VC investor is truly my sweet spot!”
Carsten has been a stock investor since high school and was an angel investor during 2018–19 with his most notable investment being Mazepay, where he backed their pre-seed round in 2019 and their EUR 1,5m seed round led by Outward in 2021.
In Dreamcraft, his most notable investments so far are GRID, where we co-led their USD 10m series A round in 2021, and in Hiber, where we backed their USD 2,25m seed round in 2020 and their USD 15m series A round led by EQT Ventures only twelve months later.
“I met the Hiber team at an event in Stockholm in March 2020 a couple of days before Denmark’s first COVID lockdown. During the following months it became clear that they were a world-class team with a great foundation to build the next generation of social entertainment networks, especially as I observed my 8-year old daughter test the platform in Testflight and heard from our co-investor, SYBO, how insanely strong their metrics were.” (Read more about why we invested in Hiber here)
Way before all this, Carsten went to high school with our Founding Partners, Jesper and Christian, whereafter he joined the Danish Army in 2002 and soon got accepted for the Special Forces Program and Officers Academy. During the former he decided to go for the latter, as greatly encouraged by his girlfriend — now wife — and he completed the Officers Academy in 2008.
Following two years of training and preparation, he went to Afghanistan to lead a department of 40 specialists in inventory management and air transport, who quickly realized they needed a software application to manage passengers flying between the bases as well in and out of the country. Carsten showed signs of innovator DNA and built the app with a colleague and got rewarded for the feat by a 2-star general upon his return to Denmark.
Between 2008–15, Carsten completed a Diploma in Business Administration & Finance at Copenhagen Business School and in 2011 he transitioned to Maersk, shipping and energy group in Fortune 500, initially to lead a global team sourcing and negotiating major CAPEX contracts for construction of container ports e.g. in Moin, Costa Rica. In 2016, he transitioned to Maersk Drilling to lead multiple supply chain functions and make these ready for the company’s separation from Maersk, through its direct listing on NASDAQ’s main list in Copenhagen in 2019.
As part of the listing process, Maersk Drilling developed a new strategy with innovation as one of the cornerstones and a new Innovation function and space was established mid 2018 with Carsten leading the team responsible for business model innovation.
“Being involved in these strategic projects in Maersk Drilling increased my understanding of venture capital and I decided to test myself in the space by becoming an angel investor on the side. I joined Keystones (angel investor network), completed an executive board program at Copenhagen Business School, made my first investment as lead investor, became a board member and participated in TechBBQ (a major startup event in Copenhagen). It was clear — I had to do this full time!”
Carsten started to engage his network of founders, angel investors and VC investors to explore his options, realizing that a couple of VC firms were actually recruiting. One of them was Dreamcraft, who had just secured first closing for their very first fund and were looking for an Investment Manager with aspiration and potential to become General Partner. More importantly for Carsten, he would be the first full-time employee in the team and be part of building the very foundation for Dreamcraft e.g. by hiring the great talents that have joined us since — Magnus, Henrik, Line, Alma and Mads.
If you wish to get in touch with Carsten, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet more of the Dreamcraft team here:
Meet the Team: Line, Marketing & PR Associate— Driven by passion, running the Dreamcraft Marketing
Next up in the “Meet the Team” series, we introduce you to Line — Marketing & PR Associate. Line started at Dreamcraft…