Alessandra Mazzilli of Cavalry Ventures: Exploring the Prospects of High Conviction, Pre-Revenue Investments

**Title: A Conversation with Alessandra Mazzilli, Associate at Cavalry Ventures: Berlin-based VC Firm**


Welcome to the week in Italian startup, where we discuss the latest highlights happening in the Italian Tech and investment ecosystem. In this episode, we have a special guest, Alessandra Mazzilli, an Associate at Cavalry Ventures, a Berlin-based VC firm. Alessandra shares insights into the work of Cavalry Ventures, its investment strategy, and her role within the company.

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**Original Transcript:**

What we try to say is with only only very very high conviction bats because of course that we know that the support that has to come from us is significant so with high conviction I guess one thing that every we see out there says over and over again it’s of course Market Um given that we have especially given that we have a concentrated portfolio each of our investments needs to have the potential to become a huge company okay in the future so get to the 1 billion valuation Mark welcome to the week in Italian startup where we discuss the latest Highlights happening in the Italian Tech and investment ecosystem nice to see you all right so we have Alessandra from Cavalry Ventures and today we would like to kind of explore a little bit what’s happening with the Cavalry where it has been where it’s going and what is your role inside the Company and uh what is the future yeah yeah sure happy to give overview let me know if I run over a bit because I thought um so covery uh is a berlin-based fund but we’re Pine European so we invest across Europe that includes of course southern Europe and Italy As of today are fun to Investments for instance we’re only 30 in Germany so the rest was across all the other regions in Europe especially I would say UK and Ireland um so we were founded in 2016 we are currently investing out of fun too which Is 80 million and we are laser focused on early stage so we only do pre-seed and Seed we also invest pre-revenue what we say is that we invest as soon as it makes sense for the founder all right and that can be even pre-product so not just pre-revenue but even before the Product itself um so that’s kind of like our our Mantra and the way we do this so we invest across software in Europe again B2B and b2c uh we’re absolutely sector agnostic so we look at everything as long as it’s software related um ticket size anywhere from 500k to 3.5 Million uh as an initial ticket so we’re usually either in a leadership or co-leadership position in the first round we interact that translates into an ownership that could go anywhere from 10 percent to 17 and then we try to support our portfolio founders with follow-on financing so series a series B Series C as soon as as long as we can um to maintain our product if that’s possible of course if index comes in and says I absolutely do not want you to maintain Paratha I guess we can we can settle for that but that’s pretty much Uh the model and the reason behind the name so the Cavalry as you rightfully said so we have around 200 LPS 50 of this are actually individuals so entrepreneurs formal entrepreneurs business angels we were actually founded by the co-founders of the Liberty hero uh and what we try to do with this huge Network that that the founders have created is we try to connect our portfolio companies with our Network and the network of our Network and we think this is especially useful given that the network is actually invested direct indirectly invested in the company so they have a vested interested in helping them out And the way we do this is via an in-house platform team so now we have three full-timers plus we have one person dedicated to PR and one person dedicated to HR and what they basically do is any portfolio company would come to me and say any could be any random requests Like I I get a lot of random requests but those random requests are usually what you need at the preced seat stage because you need to get off the ground so you need initial customer introduction you need uh initial best practices on how to build a team how to Scale how to open up a new geography so this is kind of the help that’s needed at the very early stage and the way it would happen is that I don’t know a portfolio company would come to me and would say look I really need to speak to a CTO with Respect to healthcare data because it’s really particular to handle as I’m sure you know so with scraps we are networks the availability CEO is the best person to speak to and then would make the connection uh plus of course we have platform perks you know discounts on the Virus stripe AWS and the likes uh and we have created a slack Community for our entrepreneurs to connect and to also share some workshops that we organize so to keep it brief we we keep ourselves really busy of course also the investment team also has a lot of sparring with our portfolio Companies and and by the way huge disclaimer disaster comes from the portfolio company themselves like of course like there are some portfolio Founders who are completely independent who have done this over and over again they don’t really need the level of support that some other Founders might need so we are completely flexible According to what the funders uh would like to do but I mean for instance myself I’m on the investment team expensive the kind of support that I provide is really on the fundraising front so now I have a company doing a series a I think I I felt like I were I Was working full-time for them for two three weeks to be honest which was really hard to achieve but it’s also very motivating um and yeah helping them with all things fundraising from getting a VC list on getting uh you know the introductions the fund to the funds uh getting the Pitch deck in perfect condition getting the data room the business model etc etc etc so from the basic onward you just help them shape the business itself exactly exactly I mean of course they have the vision they are in the driver’s seat and we’re just there to support them if they require awesome Um I I’m really curious about the signal that you guys Intercept in order to decide whether something some project is interested is interesting for you or or not so what are what is it like really briefly like the checklist that you guys go through yeah just to uh yeah of Course and I mean I think this is a very good question especially because I mean we only do around 10 Investments per year because this Operational Support would not be possible if we were to do more than done wait 10 is not a small number yeah I would argue it’s actually Fairly small especially if you smaller sure um so what what we try to say is with only only very very high conviction bats because of course that we know that the support that has to come from us is significant so if we were to do kind of Like a keema ventures kind of model in Paris then I think we would not survive with 100 portfolio companies every year um so what’s high convention yeah exactly yeah yeah yeah yeah so we do a lot of cherry picking um so at high conviction I guess one Thing that every we see out there says over and over again it’s of course Market um given that we have especially given…


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A conversation with Alessandra Mazzilli, Associate at Berlin-based VC firm Cavalry Ventures.

This episode was recorded during TechChill Milano (Sept 2022)

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