Ludovica Saccavini


'I approach thesis building like sculpting – starting with a rough idea and refining it until it becomes something solid and new.'

Ludovica Saccavini

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?

I was born and raised in Milan. At a young age, I relocated to Vancouver, where I completed my high school education. Subsequently, I embarked on my university journey in Paris.

What is the area you are from famous for?

Milan is known for its lively atmosphere, great food, and fun bars. Growing up there, I was surrounded by different cultures, and people with all sorts of careers, from fashion to finance.

What did/do your parents do?

My mom used to work in advertising, but she became a full-time mom when my brother and I came along. Meanwhile, my dad started off as a headhunter before transitioning to consulting, where he specialized in profiling.

Any siblings when you grew up?

I have a younger brother named Federico, and he's 18 years old.

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

I was fascinated by horse riding. I began at the age of 6 and never looked back. The sense of freedom that comes from a ride, especially after a long day or week, has always resonated with me. Even now, I make an effort to include it in my day to day life whenever possible.

What are you missing from your younger years?

The main thing is hanging out with my close friends every day. We used to hang out every day, sharing laughs and creating unforgettable memories. Now that we live in different cities, it's challenging to find the right time and place to reconnect. Whenever I stumble upon an old photo or a familiar inside joke, I can't help but smile, reminiscing about those cherished moments we spent together.

Did you have a side job during school? What was it? What did you learn?

Back in high school, I was a horse riding instructor. It was a cool side job where I learned to be responsible for others. Making people feel safe and comfortable while they're up on a 1.7m tall horse is quite a hard skill to master but I feel like by the end I got the hang of it.

What did you study, and where?

I studied Business and Management at ESCP. I started my first year in Paris, moved to Madrid for my second year, and finished my studies in Berlin.

Summarize your work after university and before Foundamental.

During university, I started off working for Accenture, where I was exposed to multiple projects in a variety of industries. While I enjoyed my time working in consulting, I’ve often wanted to have a bigger impact and soon decided to enter the startup world. I joined a very early stage fintech startup in Berlin, where I was exposed to the fast-paced and ever changing environment that characterises an early stage venture. After this experience I knew I wanted to stay in the venture world, but also decided I’d want my mission to be bigger and connected to the huge challenges and problems of today’s world and society. That’s when I started as a Founder Associate in a B2B marketplace venture working on digitalizing the steel industry. There I had the chance work closely with both the founders and investors and have a real taste of what it means to build and lead a company from scratch. Finally, after experiencing the hectic startup life, I felt the need to try and get to the other side of the table, where I could have the possibility to work with multiple entrepreneurs in various industries.

What is your story of getting into Foundamental?

I’ve always wanted to try and get to the other side of the table after my experiences working in startups. However, I did not want just any VC, especially after my experience in digitizing the steel industry, I wanted to work in a place that was dealing with tangible real-world problems and Foundamental felt like the right place to be.

I Am On The Lookout For

What makes a great VC investor?

Numerous factors are at play. I believe a standout VC investor is someone who wonders about the right questions. The ability to pay keen attention to details, along with the sensibility to adapt to different markets and situations, coupled with the readiness to ask difficult questions, are arguably the toughest aspects of the job.

What are 3 things you look for in a founder?

The three qualities I look for in a founder are the following:

Humility: Essential asit allows them to recognize and learn from their mistakes.

Deep involvement: A thorough understanding of the market and the product. A founder should never just a high-level manager; they need to be willing to get their hands dirty in details.

Passion: This is non-negotiable for me. Building a company requires immense dedication, so they must be genuinely excited about the mission and the product they are creating.

What are the things in a business that excite you?

I am constantly on the hunt for founders and teams who are tackling real-world problems head-on. I am drawn to those who possess a deep understanding of their market and product, and who are not afraid to get their hands dirty in the process.

What are mistakes that AWESOME founders don’t make, but many other founders make and you see repeatedly?

A big mistake many make is not paying enough attention to hiring. The crew you build early on should be a major focus, the people you choose will have a major influence on the product, the strategy, and the overall direction of the business you are building together.

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

I prioritize honesty, trust, and determination. Honesty is crucial because I believe in clear feedback and having a transparent view of the work being done. Trust is a must in a business setting; it's essential to rely on each other. Lastly, determination is something I seek because I thrive in an environment where people motivate and drive each other to do better.

Describe what 'partnership' means to you.

Partnership, to me, is about finding that sweet spot where trust in each other's capabilities combines with a mutual drive to push one another toward excellence. It's about striking the perfect balance between reliance and motivation, ensuring that both partners inspire and support each other to achieve their very best.

What are you chasing in your life?

I aim to always be in an environment where I'm constantly learning and embracing change. Whether it's through innovation, travel, or meeting new people, I find fulfillment in the dynamic experience of constant growth.

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?

I think of thesis building like sculpting – starting with a rough idea and refining it until it becomes something solid and new. And taking a lot of care for details.

Any favorite readings?

I find joy in books that prompt self-reflection, especially regarding my habits, goals, and attitude. I appreciate reads that make me question my current approach and introduce alternative perspectives, allowing me to see the world in different ways.

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

Opportunities don't happen, you create them.

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

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

What is your secret ninja-skill?

Preparedness and flexibility. I'm always prepared to pack up and travel. Having experienced numerous moves, I've mastered the art of fitting my life into a few suitcases, ready to embark on a new adventure in a different city.

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

Catalyst. A force for change, sparking innovation and transformation.

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

My grandpa, I never got the chance to meet him and would love to get the chance to get to know him.

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

Others would describe me as a strong team player, always ready to lend a hand and highly determined to accomplish tasks. They would probably say I’m eager to learn and always try to adapt to new situations.

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

Traveling is something I would never hesitate to spend a significant amount of money on. For me, it's not just about visiting new places but immersing myself in different cultures, tasting diverse cuisines, and experiencing the world from fresh perspectives.

Selected Partnerships