Cayo Fiebig has lived in 12 countries and thrives to be the Chief Happiness Officer of his own life.
What’s your story?
I am the outlier, the foreigner, the curious one. High in energy, speaking against the stream. Pragmatic and idealistic. Young in age, old in spirit. My agenda is to leverage tech for good and invest in meaningful ventures that improve the quality of lives, profitably. I have set up 3B Ventures, the Danish VC fund to execute on my mission to make impact investing mainstream. My passport says I am German, but more a mix of the 12 countries I lived in. Built the largest online workforce with my previous company CodersTrust and thrive to be the Chief Happiness Officer of my own life. Did not capitalize on creating the #1 App in Germany with 400K downloads but had fun in the process.
What excites you most about your industry?
I enjoy working with like-minded family offices, HNWI and corporates, who have the resources and increasing interested to diversify their portfolio, allocating their capital towards meaningful startups & projects. Impact Investing, SDGs or ESG are terms not well understood by many and yet are “the greatest economic opportunity of a lifetime.” as Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever puts it well. This annoys me, to say the least. I am excited to lead by example, bridging high growth tech ventures that will disrupt markets with like-minded investors and partners.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I would describe it as a long-lasting friendship. Have been living in Malaysia, China, Bangladesh as well as India and am currently doing business in Singapore and Thailand. I truly believe that the 21st Century is the area of Asia and have hence set early on my intention to add value by bridging Nordic know-how with Asian market potential. I am investing in early-stage ventures with impactful solutions that are accessible and affordable to scale them in SEA (South East Asia) markets.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
SEA is for me the most overlooked growth region worldwide, especially by European investors. My monthly travel route in SEA is usually:
1st Stop: SG
high concentration of family offices and high net worth individuals that are open to engage and invest in meaningful ventures
2nd Stop: KL
Malaysia is starting fresh with a new government that is eager to attract foreign capital as well as creating an innovative ecosystem for investments to thrive in.
3rd Stop: Bangkok
Nascent startup scene that is fueled by high centration of CVCs, who seek to collaborate with investment professionals and value Nordic expertise.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Make sure to be the youngest, poorest, and least experienced person in the room.” Advice given by my former Chairman and 1st investor of Skype Morten Lund. In essence, seek to surround yourself with extraordinary people who you can learn and benefit from.
Who inspires you?
Myself. Yes, that sounds rather egoistical!
At end of the day, we are the kings & queens of our own world, achievers of our destiny and the thinkers behind our thoughts. We like to compare and thrive after others but forget to look inside. Indeed, Ray Dalio, Deepak Chopta and my grandmother inspired me to raise my standards, but no one makes a bigger impact on my life than I do. Celebrating new healthy habits, learnings or achievements in the past. We have the single largest data set of our own lives. Look backwards, connect the dots and inspire yourself!
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I perform at my best, personally and professionally, when taking the time out to center myself. By reflecting on the last year and looking at my peak performances, I recognized a pattern that has turned now into my standard. In between hectic back-to-back meetings, before giving keynotes or in stressful situations, I know to take the time out for me. A quick 2 min break or during my 3 hour morning routine, I gain strength, balance myself and find inner calmness. With my fundament in place, I can stand any storm. When are you at your best?
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Pondering about changing the past is not a healthy exercise for me. The power is in the now to apply my learnings of the past. Experiences shape who we are today and the most painful ones, usually, turn out to be the greatest learnings. I have been foolish, naive and screwed up on a weekly basis. Some big and many minor failures. In the end, each event seems to be part of a puzzle, creating a clear picture of who I was, who I am and who I thrive to be. My intention going forward is to thrive for more discipline in my routines, confront issues through clear communication and apply my learnings in a more structured manner. If of interest, I wrote a guest chapter in the book: Kites in a Hurricane, by Rishi Kapal, sharing my turbulent yet most rewarding experience and learnings with CodersTrust.
How do you unwind?
I love to unwind! I like the saying: You cannot pour from an empty cup. I built a morning routine that fills my cup and floods me with energy. The routine includes hitting the gym at 6 am, a 20-minute meditation session, Winter bathing in the harbor when I am in Copenhagen, cooking a healthy breakfast, training my brain through mental exercises and listening to a podcast or Audiobook. Can recommend: Podcasts: TIP the investor Podcast, TED Talks Daily, Super Soul Conversations. Right now listening to Ray Dalio: Principles. Favorite Brain App: PEAK
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
My favorite destinations are the ones I have not yet traveled to. I love the exploration of the new with diversity in cultures, mindsets and people. Being in nature and hiking on routes less traveled creates a feeling of calmness and relaxation for me. I set the intention to explore the Philippines and Cambodia this year. Last month I was on a wonderful trail to the Nayang Bat Caves in Thailand.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg. We are all driven by our behavior. Understanding how we tick, what triggers us and how we act on impulses gives us the power to adapt our routines and bad habits in professional and personal life. A powerful book worth studying.
Shameless plug for your business:
To all impact Entrepreneurs, we are investing in four early-stage tech ventures in Q1. Have a look at our website www.3bvc.com to learn about the value that we create beyond investing. To investors, fund managers and corporates, we have created 3B Advisory and the 3B Institute to support our own investments and work with like-minded organisations to jointly determine and achieve their impact goals. To the like-minded, there is no competition in saving the world. Reach out to see how we jointly can create synergies.
How can people connect with you?
Contact me best via LinkedIn under Jan-Cayo Fiebig and state in the connect request shortly your intend. Always curious to hear what you are up to and how we can create value together.
Jan_Cayo but more active on LinkedIn
This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.