For many women the prospect of founding their own company is more exciting than an ordinary career in business. In this blog series we want to find out about the entrepreneurial spirit that drives these women and the ideas they pursue. Learn how they got started, their experience as female founders, and what they wish they’d known before entering the start-up world.
I finally managed to meet Anne Arndt for lunch in Ottensen and the result was a very inspiring interview on my notepad and a piece of tasty quiche in my stomach. By the way, I don’t recommend making an interview while eating because taking notes turns into a kind of a nightmare!
As Anne came in I asked her to tell me something about herself to get to know each other. At first this woman hypnotises you with her shinny eyes burning energy and passion. But the magic happens when she speaks: She was definitely given the gift to make things happen.
Hi Anne, tell me, which is your most recent project you are working on?
I recently founded PASARY together with Helge Wenck and Kevin Urbaum. PASARY is a result of reinventing the wheel over and over again at our existing digital agencies and Elbworkers. Over the past years we where setting up marketplaces or two sided business models many times. It was bothering us that founders have to pay so much money initially to get their marketplaces off the ground. So we started to develop a more standardised feature set which enables us to set up custom marketplaces much faster and of course much cheaper.
And of course PASARY is not your first project as entrepreneur…
I founded my first company just after I finished university. Even back at my school times I already got interesting projects started. One was an online social network for projects which I was not able to finish due to the crash of the new economy.
An what got you inspired into the tech world at such an early stage?
The INTERNET! As there where no real webpages that time I was super exited by the ability to communicate with people real time from around the world.
Coming back to PASARY and Elbworkers. I see you are always surrounded by men. How is that?
Well, I am so used to it. I work a lot with developers and that is still a world dominated by men.
Do you think there is a particular reason for it?
I think men are more into maths and women are more in visuals and communication. It is easier to find women in communication, in PR and marketing. However I believe this will be changing sometime soon as programming is moving away from the pure nerd domain.
Can you also develop?
I learnt JAVA in university. It did not keep my attention as I like the conceptional and business part more. That is my strength and what I like doing.
I am sure you have frequently business ideas, that is somehow in your genetics…
Oh yes, I do. I have many ideas and when I find a good one I try to develop it and start writing a quick concept and calculating a small business case to check out if it could work or not. With the time I got the experience in detecting pretty quick if an idea could actually work out or not.
That is really interesting and could definitely inspire many of the women taking part at this Start Up Weekend. Tell us then please, which is the special ingredient that makes a start up successful?
As easy as spotting an idea that could work you have to put it into action. Thinking to much about something makes things not work and loose you time. Don’t waste your time on paper. Better start a trial of your critical business assumptions – like how much would people pay for it – in the real world by getting to know your target group as fast as you can.
What are from your experience typical start up failures?
As I just said, don’t invest a lot of time on thinking every possibility or writing lengthy business plans nobody will read at that stage. It will reduce your time to start critical tasks like testing your idea. The faster you take your idea into the real world, the faster you see if it works or not. Also I think many people worry sharing and talking about their idea. Those founders are loosing valuable feedback on risks or advantages of their idea. And yeah: Don’t give up too early! You need to fight for it!
Would you found a start up alone or do you think we all need a team to be able to push the idea forward?
I believe having a team makes things much easier even though you should not hesitate to push things forward alone in the beginning. For me a team ideally consists out of at least two people from whom one is a sprinter and the other person has great endurance.
Which one are you?
The sprinter! (Laugh).
Where is the best place to find a good team to ground a business apart from the Start Up Weekend?
I always found partners in my current environment. Colleagues, friends or even my partner.
Friends and couple? Is that not so dangerous?
It doesn’t need to. I believe founding something with a friend or as a couple could help make the relationship even stronger. Additionally: Such relationships have mostly already proven to to be capable to go through happy as well as tough times without breaking. Such skills are priceless and very valuable when starting a company.
Two motivating words to the participants of the Start Up Weekend Women to end the interview?
Have an idea that is easy to get started. No complex software projects or everything which takes more than two month to develop. Do something you like is helpful but don’t forget you need to make money with it. The most important? To have the PASSION.
Thank you Anne.
You want to build your own startup? Build a startup in one weekend and put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur! Join us at the Startup Weekend Women, April 10-12 in Hamburg. If you have a business idea, great! If you don’t have a business idea, join anyway! You can help bring other ideas to life. Guys are welcome, too! Stay tuned for more updates and interviews via our Facebook Page.