Ed Korenblum

Chief of Staff

'Face challenges head-on and embrace the unknown.'

Ed Korenblum

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 and raised in Halle (Saale) in East Germany to immigrants from Moldova.

Any siblings when you grew up?

One older sister.

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

Definitely playing video games, and meeting friends and doing something stupid with them.

What are you missing from your younger years?

Nothing really, it was an awesome time, but also so is now. I always think fondly of my childhood, having hard working parents that did everything to provide me with everything i needed. I’ve had (and still have the same) great friends that always stuck up to me. Not that much changed actually, I only have more opportunity now.

Did you have a side job during school?

When I was 15 I had my first gig as a web developer and continued from there on after. Learned a lot about self discipline (which I didn’t have at the time) and obviously just the technical aspect of being a programmer / developer.

What did you study, and where?

I studied Computer Science at the Technical University Berlin.

Summarize your work after university and before Foundamental.

Started working at Foundamental while I was at the university, so fortunately I didn’t have to see many other workplaces.

What is your story of getting into Foundamental?

I was frustrated at my previous student job and wanted to do something different. Stumbled upon Foundamental and got initially hired as a IT Working Student. The rest is history as they say.

I Am On The Lookout For

What makes a great VC investor?

Ability to think stuff through and be empathic in a sense, where you try to understand the other side. Intellectual curiosity in all things in life. Having a grounded thesis about decisions.

What are values that are ultra important to you in other people in business life. Why?

Loyalty und truthfulness. If you are doing business, then both parties should be considered equal. You shouldn’t answer kindness with malice.

Describe what 'partnership' means to you.

Equal parties collaborating and trusting each other.

What are you chasing in your life?

Happiness for the close people around me.

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

Could be anything really. Most of the times it’s something I’ve never done before, and want to understand / learn it.

Think of VC as an artisan craft, where every craftsmen has their unique method and finesse. How would you describe your unique 'craft' to VC?

Jack of all trades, I can fit into a lot of different positions and make myself present there.

Any favorite readings?

Generally everything Fantasy and/or Sci-fi. Love the Harry Potter series and recently 'Red Rising' became one of my favorites as well.

What is your favorite quote or mantra that can be applied in a business context?

Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance

You need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures

From the crawling ant to the leaping antelope

We are all connected in the great Circle of Life

Cool. Now give a second quote or mantra you like in a business context.

'Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.'

What is your secret ninja-skill?

Jack of all trades.

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

Wizard of Halle.

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

Bill Gates.

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

Everything tech, One Piece, psychology.

When someone who knows you in your business life very well were to describe you, what adjectives would they use for you?

Ambitious, supportive, attentive.

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

Education, friends, travels, good food, tech.

Selected Partnerships