Kirsimarja spent four months as Visiting Analyst with the Cavalry. Read more about her experience below.
Insights into our Visiting Analyst Program
Experience & Team
I spent an exceptional four months as a part of the investment team of Cavalry, getting a short deep dive into the field of VC. I liked the type of work due to its versatility and the fact that you can learn so much regarding content, processes, and both hard and soft skills. You stay up to date with current happenings in the startup and VC scene and feel a part of the Berlin ecosystem, both through just sitting in the office and having really cool people come by and attending some of the events of the constant startup and VC event pipeline the city has to offer. I also loved working with the team. The atmosphere was phenomenal and working as a part of the team was a blast. The office has a pinball machine, Nintendo for Mario Cart, and a ping pong table, which means that there are casual tournaments every now and then. For me, it was also a cherry on the top that four of the Partners who founded Cavalry are still active entrepreneurs. It was really interesting to learn more about their personal ventures and see how they approach VC now on the other side of the table.
In the following, I’m telling a bit more about what my tasks and learnings were so that you – future interns – know better what to expect from your time with the Cavalry.
I was told that I’ll be regarded as an analyst instead of an intern and that statement held true throughout the experience.
Kirsimarja Säkkinen (LinkedIn)
On the first day of my internship, I was told that I’ll be regarded as an analyst instead of an intern and that statement held true throughout the experience. I got meaningful tasks with a lot of responsibility, was never excluded from important meetings, and my opinion was always valued. The exciting thing about VC is that your tasks vary a lot by the day and week. The biggest part of my week was often going through the incoming deal flow: scanning through the pitch decks, websites, and product demos of startups that want to cooperate and seeing whether there is potential. Further tasks considering deals would be introducing these startups to the team, potentially getting in touch with the founders, and conducting further due diligence, if the deal makes it further stages of the pipeline. Besides current deal flow, I tracked the KPIs of our portfolio companies to see how they are doing, prepared materials for investor and corporate meetings, and helped organize events, such as the KEG – our monthly beer event for VCs and other investors. I also accompanied my colleagues to START Summit in Switzerland, where I, for instance, had meetings with startups we found interesting and helped to hold a workshop for students.
It was really interesting to learn more about their [Entrepreneurial Partner] personal ventures and see how they approach VC now on the other side of the table.
Kirsimarja Säkkinen (LinkedIn)
What I learned
First of all, I got to understand the dynamics of the VC field better, the types of investments and deals that exist, deal specifics like optimal valuations, as well as how VCs cooperate with each other throughout the process. I got accustomed to delving into new topics fast and learned really interesting insights about a multitude of completely different fields during my due diligence dives. Cavalry is not limited to any specific industries, which meant that I might have been digging deep into the field of identity verification one day, the latest developments of AR/VR the next day, and language applications after that. It was extremely valuable to learn which KPIs are important to evaluate and keep track of the development of SaaS companies and learn about the different ways to calculate them. In general, I learned how to develop a much more solid understanding of a business and its future potential, knowing exactly what to look at. Furthermore, the variety of tasks helped me to hone my hard skills, e.g. Excel and PowerPoint, and to massively improve my soft skills, through understanding the dynamics of founder meetings and how to ask meaningful questions, while simultaneously guiding the conversation. Considering the bigger picture, I got to understand the macro-perspective of VC better, for instance regarding the different stages of the regional investment landscapes. It really makes you want to be a part of shaping the bright future of the European VC scene.