👋 Hello, I'm Jan,

a people-centric CTO and

serial startup founder.

based in
London

About me

🌍 I live in London 🇬🇧 since 2016 and grew up in Berlin-Kreuzberg 🇩🇪🇹🇷. My mom is from Serbia 🇷🇸, and my dad is a Swabian🇩🇪. I speak more Turkish than Serbian, which doesn‘t mean much 😂.

💃 Strong females influenced my life. 💍 I am husband to a 🔬scientist and 🏋️♀️feminist (a.k.a. The Boss). My mother couldn’t write or read until she was 40 and moved from Serbia to Berlin for a better life working as a cleaner.

💾 I fell in love with React, Typescript and the Javascript eco-system, but if I had a tattoo, it would be a Ruby tattoo (my first intimate and loving relationship with programming).

📚 I love reading with a 90:5:5 ratio of non-fiction to fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, history) to learn and serve people around me.

🏀 I play street ball, 🛹 love to skate, have deep roots in Hip-Hop — as a competitive breakdancer🕺🏿and freestyle rapper 🎙 and crew head. I fought for the Horde 😈 (World of Warcraft) and defended Midgard in 👑 Dark Age of Camelot, which gave me invaluable remote leadership skills.

Get in touch

Biggest Achievement

Co-Founder at Zencargo -
Supply Chain
Optimisation

To build a world with more innovative trade, we built a supply chain optimisation platform to create a competitive advantage for international shippers by bringing all international trade parties closer.

I was primarily responsible for shaping product and culture at Zencargo as Co-Founder and CTO. I hired my succession when we reached 160 employees, leading teams of up to 45 people across engineering, product development, and design.

In 2021 my most significant achievement was making myself dispensable and putting the future leadership for the product and engineering team in place while securing our Series B. Digital+ Partners acknowledged my signature across Zencargo’s culture after interviewing the senior executive team, making me feel proud and accomplished.

In 2020 my most significant achievement was a voluntary turnover rate in the engineering team of only 5.56% (93.23% average quarterly retention rate), having the most extensive team and the highest e-NPS across the business while delivering for our customers to stay in business during COVID-19.

I was accountable for the technology strategy and vision while touching on all areas of our business strategy. I was the first contributor to the overall product as a full-stack engineer and successfully scaled my role with the organisation's growth.

Zencargo attracted stellar investors. I’m grateful to be part of the LocalGlobe, HV Capital and Digital+ Partners Investor Network.

Zencargo Logo

my Values

Radically Inclusive

To build psychological safety and neurodiversity

Diversity and Equity are outcomes of inclusion.

My goal is to affect the fundamental nature of leadership prevalent in the tech-startup community and probably in most of our business world.

I advocate for social change, practicing the most progressive leadership style possible through conscious inclusion, calling out unconscious bias.

Do the right thing

Ethics mean the world to me, no shortcuts.

Society even over business. Business even over team. Team even over the individual. I believe the focus on individualism is hurting our society.

With great power comes big responsibility. Technology is changing everything, so ethics can't be an afterthought.

No Gap between statements and facts

I practice radical candour and transparency.

I find it hard to work with people that intentionally say things differently than they mean.

Toxic positivity and artificial harmony are eroding trust and kill businesses, that's why I prefer high stake conversations.

I believe that meaningful relationships need drama and friction to test each other's boundaries and experience unconditional love.

I accelerate learning

Learning is crucial for me personally but also for any business to thrive.

Learning faster than the competition is the only sustainable advantage companies have to succeed.

I hated school, but I love education.

My biggest fear is to slow down learning, thinking I'm an expert or not noticing that I'm on the top of mount stupid (see Dunning-Kruger Effect).

What I'm looking for

I am open for co-founding opportunities

I am looking for a co-founder to make an impact on our society. I am looking for people who have experienced a devastating problem and are motivated in fixing it, with me.

Explore ideas with me

Education

Talent shortage is a real issue and the only way to address it is to invest in education for digital professions.

My mother couldn't read or write until she was in her 40s. I want to pay forward the success I had and be a role model for the unprivileged and underrepresented.

I have no previous experience in this space, so you would need to demonstrate to me, why you are invested and have a competitive insight.

I'm a lifelong learner. I read over 30 books per year and have done more than 60 Udemy courses, learning is my superpower.

Inclusion

I'm a feminist and everything I do has in one way or another made a contribution to making our world more progressive, even if it's "only" how we lead the company, together.

My wife is a cancer research scientist, supporting her in her career is my first priority.

At Zencargo I took 3 months parental leave to support her and lead as example, as co-founder.

If you have an insight on how we could elevate invisible women? Please get in touch.

Inclusion is important to me, so even if it's not about equity for women, there's so much society can do for actual minorities.

Sustainability

I'm doing a lot to reduce my carbon-footprint and I would be so much more excited to do this at scale.

Zencargo's impact on sustainability and mental health is huge, making international trade more efficient and less stressful gave me inspiration everyday to pour my heart and soul into the business.

Sustainability comes in different forms, if you have found a devastating problem and a competitive insight, I am here to brainstorm with you.

Learning opportunity

Going after a complex or difficult problem is another way to get me really excited.

I didn't know anything about the Logistics industry, but I thrived in the learning opportunity to discover how international trade works.

My main personality traits are that I'm highly adaptable and a learner. Going after an unknown industry is a huge opportunity for me in regards to talent stacking.

What I offer

I offer my experience for around 3 to 6 months.

Being in between ventures, I can commit to short term projects to support my family. I can wear all heads of strategy, culture and execution across data, security, product discovery and product delivery.

My background is in logistics, e-commerce, market places, event-driven architectures, domain driven design, internationalisation and localisation, real-time data, fraud-prevention, and affiliate networks.

Fractional CTO

I work with your team in an operational role to drive substantial change for your business.

Coaching

We meet regularly for up to three months to either work on agreed goals or give you high quality time to think with an experienced CTO.

Health Check

An intensive, one-day health check on your tech team's people, processes, code, and product. Suitable for investment due diligence, acquisition check, or internal audit.

I'm open for new offers to help.

Book a call

Bio

CTO

A decade of experience
as startup founder.

2010

I co-founded a web development agency in Berlin as CTO with three friends from Technische University Berlin. We built 12 prototypes and products in 12 months, very intense but rewarding time.

2011

I co-founded bonusbox, a E-Commerce loyalty platform, where we raised a Series A and had over 4 million users, 70% of which were in Brazil, 30% in Germany. This was my first VC backed startup as CTO.

2016

I arrived in London. Started as CTO for Solar Options for Schools, which I quickly realised was not the right fit for me. I then started Zencargo in December that year with Alex and Richard. We together raised $66.4M for our Series B before I left the team. Zencargo is the hottest supply chain optimisation startup in Europe.

2021

I left Zencargo in March 2021 to explore new opportunities and ended up with co-founding a startup that ended up with a founder breakup after only six months.

Now

I am currently on the lookout for potential co-founders to start a new business, exploring ideas on my own and being open to exploring problems other entrepreneurs have experienced themselves. To support my family, I am taking on consultancy gigs.

Picture of Jan Riethmayer

contact

Send me a text first, as I don't answer unknown numbers