Our 2024 priorities?

Karel Zheng

I initially joined KAYA in 2018 after my internship at BCG while still studying Math at University. During these two years as an analyst, I had a chance to go on a secondment with Twisto, one of the portfolio companies (exited to Zip.co), where I was helping with “smarter” growth.

At that point in my career I soon realised that I want to start something from scratch and on my own. Together with my childhood friend Patrick we founded Accomango, a B2B SaaS-enabled marketplace that connects industrial companies with accommodation providers. Due to market conditions, Accomango shifted from being a software-only company to a tech-enabled real estate operator and still continues under Patrick’s leadership.

After my founder’s journey, I discovered the fascinating world of web3 and with the help of my mentor Ondra from Miton, I was able to study and research it. I had the opportunity to work with several companies from Miton C portfolio. These include liquid staking protocol Marinade.finance, which is the biggest project on Solana based on TVL.

My journey from a young student in VC through time spent at startups (including being a co-founder) helped me gain valuable perspective & insights into product, fundraising, hiring/ layoffs, and all the related growth pains that founders have to go through. The circle has closed – I am back where I started – at KAYA VC. I am convinced that my journey enabled me to become a better partner for ambitious and courageous founders building next category-defining products.

When not speaking to the latest startups, you can find me in the mountains. I love running, hiking, and road cycling in the summer and I do cross-country skiing and alpine skiing in winter. I am also a passionate cook and a foodie. I love talking to curious and ambitious doers discussing how technology can change the current status-quo, increase productivity and also bring more happiness. 

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