The Quarterly Interview #29: Martin Kaswurm

The Austrian Martin Kaswurm, 33, co-founded the sports marketing and events agency Chaka2 ten years ago – that was a few years before enrolling in the FIFA Master, in 2013. Through his agency’s activities and his work with sports organisations, such as the International Volleyball Federation, he has made a name in the industry, despite the young age. Based in Salzburg, Austria, Chaka2 has been servicing companies such as Audi, Red Bull and adidas for years, but it was recently that the company, as well as Martin, earned a larger notoriety internationally. That was due to the creation of Snow Volleyball, a new discipline which brings the essentials of (beach) volleyball to a wintery/ski resort environment. A few weeks ago, he was invited to give a TEDx Talk on the subject. Martin says that the FIFA Master has played a crucial role in his career, in many ways. “I think it would be fair to attribute at lot of what we have achieved, one way or another, to me having done the FIFA Master. For example, I had already conceptualised and worked for years at developing snow volleyball, and during the Master, friends from my edition even came to work at our events. One of those friends was Nzumbe Nyanduga, from Tanzania, who would later go on to work for the IOC. It was him who first mentioned snow volleyball to the FIVB, opening the door to us establishing a relationship with the federation, which would, eventually, change the sport dramatically”, he says.

Here’s more of Martin Kaswurm’s interview:

FMA Quarterly: What is your job like, as CEO at Chaka2?
Martin Kaswurm: If there is one way to summarise my job as CEO of Chaka2 it is that it is everchanging. No two days are the same. An important part of my role is keeping an eye out for opportunities, staying well-informed about markets and the business environment our clients operate in, as well as managing my team. Our people are our biggest asset and as CEO it is my responsibility to oversee, listen to, and prepare them.

FMAQ: You created a new sport discipline, Snow Volleyball, which has been picked up, endorsed and sanctioned by the CEV and FIVB. How did that happen and what’s the ultimate goal?
MK: Snow volleyball was conceptualised as a “why-not?” idea amongst friends hanging out one day after skiing. Turning that idea into what it is today has taken ten years of determination, hard work, and luck. It has been a long journey, with ups and downs, but our mission is clear: we want to open up the Winter Sports to the other half of the world, which hasn’t really been invited to follow the Winter Olympic Games - and we are confident that snow volleyball could be the sport to do it.

FMAQ: You recently gave a TEDx Talk about Snow Volleyball. What did you learn from that experience?
MK: When I accepted the invitation to do a TEDx Talk, I knew it would be a challenge but also a great platform to share the story of snow volley. I learned a lot in the preparation and delivery of the talk, but also with the feedback and questions that came afterwards, from the guests in attendance.

FMAQ: You’ve been serving in the FMA Committee for 5 years, and just entered your second year as President. What have you learned from the experience and what would you like to achieve?
MK: The FMA Committee is a volunteer organisation that is as diverse as the alumni network itself. To me, it has been an immersive experience in working across various backgrounds and personalities to accomplish objectives and handle sensitive topics. Personally, I am very much looking forward to the 20th anniversary of the Master, which is coming up next year, and planning the gathering in which we will celebrate it.

FMAQ: What are your fondest memories of the FIFA Master?
MK: Looking back at my days as a student at the FIFA Master, it’s a flood of great memories ranging from incredible site visits, impactful lectures, days at the lake and nights out with my classmates. I couldn’t pick a favourite memory because there are so many, but having spent New Year’s in Austria with my classmates who stayed in Europe is one of my life highlights.


Martin Kaswurm, Austrian

Co-founder and CEO at Chaka2

FIFA Master Class: 2014 

Favourite sport: Skiing, football and golf

Favourite team: FC Bayern München

Favourite sport’s personality: Dominic Thiem

Favourite sport’s moment: Tommie Smith and John Carlos Black Power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games, in Mexico City.