Anton v. R.


'In a universe of endless possibilities, I code my own adventures.'

Anton v. R.

My Backstory

Where were you born?

I grew up in Essen, the industrial heart of Germany, where people are known for being hard workers, straight shooters, down to earth, and easy to grab a beer with. My parents taught me the value of dreaming big and working hard. My mother founded a successful biomedical startup in the 1990s, growing it for 15 years before selling to a large firm. She taught me about perseverance, breaking through barriers, and doing simple things better than overconfident incumbents. My father started as a car mechanic before founding his own dealership in the 1970s. He saw success come and go with industry changes, but his amazing relationship skills allowed him to relate to anyone.

Starting at age 8, my parents had me help out on a small farm, which helped me appreciate physical labor. In my teens, I worked admin roles at my mom's startup, learning efficiency and attention to detail. At 16, I took a monotonous job besides high school at a bank’s account statement printing department that taught me patience - which is valuable as an early-stage investor. I studied energy management and finance, doing my undergrad in Germany before a Master's at Purdue and Tsinghua.

After university, I started in corporate finance and M&A, focusing on renewable energy deals. I then joined a large utility amid industry transformation during and after Fukushima. My role changed to business development in batteries, grid storage, and distributed energy. I also supported early tech investments at the intersection of energy and power retail tech. Later, I helped a global engineering firm leverage its vast hardware expertise to partner with early-stage hard tech founders - right before embarking on my own journey as a founder (unsuccessfully).

Where were you born, where were you raised?

Born in Western Germany, but raised in Berlin.

What is the area you are from famous for?

People from Berlin often work in creative industries, tech, and startups. I would say they have a progressive, open, diverse and laid-back attitude.

What did/do your parents do?

My father used to work as an editor specifically focusing on schoolbooks, where he played a crucial role in shaping educational content to make learning more engaging and effective. My mom was a stay-at-home mom.

Any siblings when you grew up?

I have a sister, two years older.

What are the two things (outside of school) that you spent the most time on when you were a kid or teenager?

Programming and video games !

What are you missing from your younger years?

I remember just running around our neighbourhood with my friends, and having sort of 'adventures' every day. Every experience was exciting or adventurous, really. Compared to back then the adult life can seem a bit mundane.

Did you have a side job during school?

I was delivering advertisement catalogues for a couple of years. I felt like this was an especially pointless type of grunt-work, and made me realise how **** it must be to actually work hard and be under-appreciated in your work life.

What did you study, and where?

Computer Science at the Technical University Berlin.

Summarize your work after university and before Foundamental.

I first did the odd one-off jobs, small software projects that friends recommended me for. For example I built a mobile app for sales reps, with a focus on integration to cloud storage at its core. I also wrote an application to create and track invoices for a physiotherapy company.

Through these experiences, I gained valuable insights into mobile app development, cloud integration, and software solutions for specific professional needs.

What is your story of getting into Foundamental?

A good friend from university (Ed) started working at Foundamental before me.

Recognizing the alignment between my skills and the opportunities at Foundamental, this friend thoughtfully recommended me for a position. (thank you, friend !) Trusting in our shared academic experiences and professional understanding, I decided to explore the opportunity, and it turned out to be a fantastic match for both my skills and the company's ethos.

I Am On The Lookout For

What are the things in a business that excite you?

One thing that excites me about software companies, is commitment to Open Source.

The ethos of embracing and contributing to Open Source initiatives not only fosters innovation but also reflects a dedication to collaboration, transparency, and community-driven development. Witnessing a business prioritize and actively engage in Open Source endeavors not only resonates with my values but also underscores a forward-thinking approach that embraces the collective power of the developer community.

Describe what 'partnership' means to you.

Partnership, to me, is all about teaming up with others to bring together a diverse set of skills, creating a more effective and streamlined approach to our shared goals. It involves a collaborative effort where tasks are divided based on individual strengths, fostering efficiency. Beyond just the work aspect, it's also about having each other's back—building a supportive connection that goes beyond the tasks at hand. In essence, it's a dynamic collaboration that enhances both the process and the relationship itself.

What are you chasing in your life?

There are two things that are essential for considering my life well lived.

The first thing is contributing to the betterment of society, very generally, in whatever way one chooses. For me this is being productive and working projects that actively helps and people. Leaving a mark on the world, something that stays once I’m gone.

The second thing is personal growth. I need to expose myself to new experiences that broaden the horizon. Learning new things, about the world and about myself, and about how I want to live and interact with others. If you stop doing this, you quickly fall behind and become completely out of touch with the rest of the world.

What intrigues you? As in, you see or hear something like this, you stop whatever you currently do.

I love discovering new genres of music, unconventional films, or encounter any innovative form of creative expression.

Any favorite readings?

One of my favorite books is Roadside Picnic. It explores the aftermath of an extraterrestrial visit, focusing on how humans struggle with the supernatural artifacts and inexplicable phenomena left behind in the visitation zones.

I also love Alice in Wonderland and Der Unsichtbare Apfel, both of which feature protagonists journeying into strange and fantastical lands. I guess I am particularly drawn to stories that transport characters into peculiar worlds, using the setting as a mirror to reflect the nature of the individuals exploring them.

What is your secret ninja-skill?

I can’t say, on account of it being secret !

In what ways do you feel inferior to some people you look up to?


If you were a super-hero, what would be your super-hero name?

Super-Mutanton !

What is one person in the world you would like to have dinner with?

I'd love to share a dinner table with Slavoj Žižek. I think it would be a great mix of fun and thought provoking, as he has a very interesting perspective on philosophy and culture.

What can you nerd out over for hours with the right discussion partner?

The Star Trek Universe, or HipHop ! Maybe just interesting music in general.

Is there something you would never mind spending a lot of money on ?

Can’t think of anything, I’m quite penny-pinching !

Selected Partnerships