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.
Freya Oehle is founder of Spottster, an online shopping platform that makes it possible to track your favourite products in numerous online shops. The 24-year-old entrepreneur from Hamburg founded the startup in 2013, right after finishing her MBA. Spottster allows you to set your own price preference for every product and remembers your products, its prices as well as your price preference and compares it constantly with the most recent price, making it possible for you to never miss a sale or an available voucher again.
Freya, what motivated you to found “Spottster“?
I wanted to use my potential and work ethics in order to create real and visible results, I loved the idea from a business perspective, and I wanted to work creatively, in a self-chosen manner. And I would do it again – always!
How difficult was it to bring your idea to life?
I have to say: I’m a lucky one. My co-founder is a developer so we had a prototype already in our really early stage, even before our business plan was ready, which made it easy to convince others and to kick-off.
What are the greatest victories and challenges you faced along the way?
Victories: The product launch and the fact that ALL of our interns and past employees still write post-cards and come by every now and then. So in fact: our team!
Challenges: To make everything out of nothing, to have a real short planning horizon, not to take drawbacks too serious, to grow up and take on responsibility faster than any of my employed friends.
What are your recommendations to other women who have startup ideas?
Never start that negative thought of “what if…” but just turn them into reality. Worst case is that you learn something from it.
Why do you think there are so few female founders?
It’s a question of security and family planning, I think. I got the impression that females tend to think that their time span to achieve is way more limited as compared to men so failure appears more frightening (you might think you cannot make up for it in time).
Paradoxically, however, any such (wrong) impression should motivate them even more to build up their very own “baby” right away, shouldn’t it?!
Is there a difference between female and male founders?
Yes and no. Founders, independent of gender, are a very special kind of human beings, independent, creative, and simultaneously hard-working, driven, and restless. Yet, from what I saw so far, women tend to be more modest and quiet, way more rational and eager – which, when it comes down to selling a vision and striving for the next big thing, is not always beneficial.
On the other hand, when it comes to leading personnel, females tend to be more sensitive and sociable, I think, which enhances team work and team spirit at times.
What do you think is more important, “professional skills” or “entrepreneurial spirit”?
Entrepreneurial spirit! Everything else can be learned if needed.
Do female founders require special set of skills to get prepared for the startup world?
A well balanced mix of confidence, humour, persistency and professionalism to do the splits between being successful and adorable and to not slip into one of the female cliché roles. Yet, this does not only hold for the startup world….
Advice for aspiring founders attending SWWHH?
Talk to as many experienced persons, especially founders, as possible!
The most efficient way of gathering information, knowledge, and to get an idea of what to do next and how to put your hands on, for spottster, has always been the input of other entrepreneurs and experts. And talk about your idea and get feedback – we all have paranoia in the beginning but once getting rid of it, you will come to enhance your idea.
Thank you Freya for the interview!
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 Facbook Page.