First person experience from Marina, Team member of Comate.me

The first Start Up Weekend Women in Hamburg is now over. It might have changed the way we think, it might have helped us meeting the right people, it might have empowered us or something totally different. Since this is a very personal experience I asked Marina, one of the participants and team member of the winning team, comate.me to share with us how she experienced the Start Up Weekend Women in first person. I got a pretty long reply, which I believe could help future participants to have an insight about what really happens at a Start Up Weekend.

Thanks Marina and congratulations to your team.

Foto from Kathrin Kaufmann #DMW
Foto from Kathrin Kaufmann #DMW

I recently got back from a trip where I did lots of surfing and I feel like attending a startup weekend is kind of like standing on a surfboard for the first time: You either get hooked and want to go again and again or you simply say: “check, moving on, it’s too much work”. Well, I am definitely the former type of person and this was not my last start-up weekend, that’s for sure!

The funny thing is I almost did not go because I was super exhausted and annoyed after a crazy fight with my roommate on Friday. What a difference that would have made.

As mentioned, I am a complete startup weekend newbie, I was familiar with the concept but was not quite sure what to expect. Are there going to be any good ideas? Will I find a team that fits? And are we going to be able to come up with something remotely presentable?

The answers are: yes, yes and YES!

Friday evening was dedicated to some intro, networking and obviously the pitches. Some of the ideas I thought were simply amazing, some not so much. After the planned 30 pitches were over our wonderful host Ümit managed to talk three more girls into going up and spontaneously pitching their idea. So I am watching this girl Laura, very charmingly pitch an idea for a platform that is supposed to find the perfect roommate for everyone, and think to myself (remembering my own roommate issues): this is awesome, I need to be part of this.

The next 30 mins were spent teaming up. You don’t have much time to discuss and figure out what everyone is good at. Therefore I went with my gut feeling from before and joined Laura’s team. We ended up being 8 people from very diverse backgrounds: Developers, Mathematicians, Maritime Technology students, Designers, Marketeers. You name it – we got it. Working with such a big group can be exhausting at times but at the same time means that you get a lot of different angles on certain problems, which was definitely a plus.

By the time we started working it was around 11 PM, which gave us 41 hours until the final pitch and all we had so far was the idea. That meant: work, work and more work with very little sleep in between. You need to define your product, your target group, get feedback, figure out how to ever make money with the product and how to put it out there. On top of that you are preferably supposed to build a prototype and then squeeze all the information into a 3 minute presentation. Sounded pretty impossible to me at 11PM Friday night, to be honest.

Thankfully we had lots of help from different mentors, most of them experienced entrepreneurs, who jumped in with critical questions where needed or suggested things we had not thought about before. And somehow by the time we were supposed to present on Sunday afternoon, we actually had a great concept and a very cool presentation in my opinion. Thanks to our designers Caro and Dennis for building such beautiful mock-ups and putting all the information together so neatly.

When it was time to pitch (Laura and me presented) I was actually pretty nervous. However, everything went fairly smoothly, Laura naturally got the crowed hyped up, I managed to get through the 3 minute Q&A without any major mess-ups and the feedback afterwards was simply overwhelming. When we sat back down I was pretty positive we would win something. Turns out both Jury and Crowd agreed, since we received first the crowd- and then even the overall prize. We were ecstatic.

The rest of the night was dedicated to lots of congratulations, more networking and finally some well-deserved Gin and Tonics before I finally went home sometime early Monday morning to get my much needed sleep.

 

Marina (right) and another woman of her team. Foto from Sina Gritzuhn. Hamburg Startups.
Marina (right) and Caro (left) working at the SWWHH. Foto from Sina Gritzuhn. Hamburg Startups.

Things I take away after the weekend:

-When selecting the idea and your team, go with your gut. You won’t really know if it is going to work out before you actually get to work anyway.

Use the opportunity to network! Organizers, mentors, judges, fellow participants. I made so many valuable contacts, I would never have made had I not participated.

-Working with people you don’t know can be a challenge. Clarify expectations and put down team rules in the very beginning.

No pain, no gain. Criticism from mentors and tension in the team are part of the experience and show that everyone is very passionate. Work through the downs and get back on track.

-Most importantly: Even during stressful situations, try to keep the fun in it. “Shake it off” if you need to – we did a few times!

And lastly:

I know this has been said a lot of times on Sunday, but I feel like it can’t be said enough: thank you so much to all the wonderful organizers! You made everything seem so effortless, were always approachable and simply a pleasure to be around. I am glad there are people out there like you guys who put in lots of time, sweat and tears to make sure events like these happen!

Right now we are in the middle of figuring out how and where to go from here. So like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter to stay tuned. We will be back!

What here what comate.me  is all about in 40 seconds?

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10 things that will make SWWHH2015 a very special weekend.

There is no time left. The Start Up Weekend Women is now around the corner and the organisers, participants, coaches, speakers and jury are ready to give it all to inspire, create, design, develop, present and be part of this unique experience.

expect

Our efforts to make this event a special one are going to be paid off thanks to your participation. We are excited, nervous and climbing up the walls.

What to expect at SWWHH2015:

  • 80% of the participants are women.

  • We give you the opportunitty you to get inspiration from our blog series Women Entrepreneur in Focus, where we have been interviewing women entrepreneur from Hamburg.

  • We are having a live cooking experience with the chef Claudio Martinez on Friday evening sponsored by Kitchennerds, a Hamburg Startup and platform to book expert chefs for private events.

  • We will be having on Saturday and Sunday a Yoga session with Anne to strech and rejuvinate our body, mind and soul.

  • The little ones are also welcome during the weekend. Thanks to our childcare service the mummies won’t need to worry.

  • One of the trendiest Food Trucks is coming to visit uns for Sunday for Lunch, Vincent Vegan.

  • We are streaming online on Sunday evening at YouNow the final pitches. That way you won’t miss anything. From 5pm live here.

  • And of course, we are proud to have on board great ensemble of speakers, coachers and jury and more than 90 participants full of ideas, creativity and power to turn ideas into reality.

We are looking forward to seeing you!








Dear sponsors, you made it happen.

Such an event like the Start Up Weekend, organised by a team of volunteers who believe in bringing ideas to life, create and share life-changing experiences, could never ever take place without the financial help from local institutions and companies. We are amazed about the high number of responses  willing to help us organise this special edition of the Start Up Weekend encouraging female participation and entrepreneurship.

SWWHH-thx

Dear sponsors, you rock it, thanks for making it happen!

With your help we have been able to:

1.  Reach all the potencial participants and let the people know that what we are doing is something very special thanks to media coverage and print materials sponsorship.

2. Arrange great food and drinks to keep everyone fit and tank energy during the day and network in the evening.

3. Get prizes for the winners, because there must be a winner. 🙂

4. Receive and buy the material necessary for the participants to work properly during the weekend.

5. Find a location where the whole magic will happen and over 100 people will work hard during the weekend.

But which are these rockstar companies to make Start Up Weekend Women 2015 Hamburg happen? Here you have the list:

Platinum Sponsors:

Xing. The social network for business professionals.

Gold Sponsors:

Gründerwerft. An initiative of the Software Alliance Hamburg (saw) for the promotion of entrepreneurs in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

Immonet. Real estate, beautiful apartments and houses for sale or rent in whole Germany.

Liquid Labs. An experimental organisation where ideas are tested, startups are built and innovation in FinTech & Logistics moves forward.

Hamburg Kreativgeselschaft. A facility for enhancing the creative economy in the Hanseatic City.

 

Silver Sponsors:

Haspa. The market-leading bank in Hamburg.

Thoughtworks. Providers of software delivery, pioneering tools and consulting for organizations with ambitious missions.

KPMG. One of the leading auditing and consulting firms in Germany.

OOSE. Consulting and seminars on topics of software and system development.

Njiuko. Development of high-performance architectures and applications: mobile or Web app, backend or frontend – we assist in the planning and implementation.

Contribuiting Sponsors:

Glossybox. Receive the latest cosmetic and beauty products at home.

Appmotion. Strategy, design and interface design. Agency for mobile branding.

NPIRE. Creative Agency.

Thinkprint. Digital printing, offset, screen printing and fine art print large format.

Uber. Get a taxi, private car or rideshare from your mobile phone. Uber connects you with a driver in minutes.

Tvino.de. The wine shop in the Internet. Tvino.de introduces new wines via video.

Stattys. Development of mobile and lite communication tools for visual planning and presentation, handwritten communication, sketching, visual problem solving

Rosemeyer-Marketing.de. Online Marketing Beratung.

Anne Mechau Physio Yoga. The connection of the exercises (asanas) of classical Yoga with the knowledge of Western medicine and physiotherapy

BioBob. Fresh bio fruit for the office.

Paperscreen.  Sustainable, fair, and regional office stationery produced in Germany.

 

Mediapartners:

Hamburg StartUps. Platform to support with the visibility and networking of the Hamburg-based startups.

Deutsche Start Ups. Latest news about German Internet start-ups and venture capital.

Geekettes. A global organization offering a platform for aspiring and current women innovators in technology to learn and connect.

Digital Media Women. An association to make visible women in the digital industry.

 

Curated Prizes:

Fastbill. Easily create and send invoices online.

Jimdo. The easiest way to create a website.

Startup Weekend. A global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities.

Betahaus Hamburg. A new home for the Hamburg-based digital and creative scene

Shhared. A coworking community committed to providing superior work solutions to its members, who are creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.

Many thanks again in name of the SWWHH2015 Team!








WE in Focus: Anne Arndt, Founder of Elbworkers and PASARY

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.

Banner-Interviewreihe-06

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.

 

 ©Anna-Lena Ehlers
©Anna-Lena Ehlers

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.








WE in Focus: Kathy Gabel, Co-Founder of Besserbrauer

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.

Banner-Interviewreihe-06

Beer has the reputation of bringing people together and we all relate mainly beer to good times and friends. What many people probably didn’t know or still don’t know is that they have the power at their fingertips to be able to brew their own one at home!

Kathy and Jörg decided to turn their idea into reality with Besserbrauer and try to reach all this people to show them the art of independent beer brewing. Their main product, called Die Braubox,  includes the tools, the ingredients and of course the instructions to take you into the world of brewing your beer in your own kitchen.  Also great is their online shop to acquire extra tools and additional ingredients to brew specific beers like Pale Ale, Hell, Dunkel or the exotic Coffee Stout. The magical part of the Braubox is that everyone can try it. Either if you make a hobby out of it or if you become a beer brewing profi is only up to you!

Foto-Credits: Lars Franzen, larsfranzen.com
Foto-Credits: Lars Franzen, larsfranzen.com

What I would like to empathize is that one of the founders of Besserbrauer is a young woman, Kathy Gabel, who is today ready to reply some questions about her way into entrepreneurship.

Are women also pretty much interested in Beer, Kathy, or you are one of a kind?

One of a kind sounds lonesome, so I am glad to say no! New craft beer styles attract more and more women to try the hoppy, fruity ales or nuttily brown ales for example. And I even know female brewmasters and beer sommeliers. But still more than 90% of the Braubox users are male.

And now getting into the point Kathy, what motivated you to have your own startup?

We simply had a very good idea. Plus I was ready to experience something new in career terms after several years of being employee. Instead of doing a very specialized job, I am now Marketing Manager, purchaser, packaging staff, accountant, Sales Manager and even sometimes binman. Binwomen. Seeing all parts of a business  working together makes running a startup so precious to me.

 Do you think this feeling of willing to do our own project comes to everyone at some point?

 It depends on the person but I am sure, the longer you do your “base” job, the more you think about other possibilities. And living in a city might intensify the idea of running your own business, as you see different other people doing it with very different ideas. And having a city’s wide range of possible target groups.

 How difficult was it to bring your idea to life?

 There were and still are two sides of starting your own business: the startup scene itself, which is interested in ideas, extremely helpful and uncomplicated, when it comes to looking for office space, business tips and invaluable contacts. The other side is the official formation. My advice: don’t get confused by laws and taxes and forms. Just find a good tax consultant and get started.

 What are the greatest victories and challenges you faced along the way?

 One of the biggest challenges I have to face is not male or female – it’s having enough time for the startup while still working your employee job. The female challenge for me was to find my role in a still mostly male dominated startup scene. Plus our startup is a team with a female and a male founder. I try to use my personal strengths and otherwise ask for help when necessary. This is what makes a team and is most efficient, regardless of men or women.  The biggest victory is that our idea of kitchen breweries is appreciated so much! People write us mails, send us photos and write about us in blogs, because they like what we do!

Foto-Credits: Lars Franzen, larsfranzen.com
Foto-Credits: Lars Franzen, larsfranzen.com

  What are your recommendations to other women who have startup ideas?

 What are your strengths? Are you ready to spend your free time on concepts, communication and sometimes simply administration, delivery and calculation? Are there enough ideas for year 3-5? If your answers are mostly positive, then find someone to join you or if you want to start on your own, at least people who support you. And never fear the failure!

 Why do you think there are so less female founders?

A lot of startups provide apps or other technical solutions. These are still no female domains, but much better suitable than e.g. service, trade or craft to achieve quick success. And maybe women do not face risks as easily as men do. This is not a bad thing, but might keep women from starting their own business.

 Is there a difference between female and male founders? Do female founders require special set of skills to get prepared for the startup world?

 I don’t like to think too much about being male or female. But maybe we should be a bit more self-confident about our ideas and qualifications and communicate them better.

 Do you have another precious piece of advice for aspiring founders attending SWWHH?

If you are convinced of your idea, then just get started! Think enough but not too much!

 Many thanks Kathy for your time! I have heard you are also here and there around to make your product well known. Where is the next date to meet you personally?

Foto-Credits: Lars Franzen, larsfranzen.com
Foto-Credits: Lars Franzen, larsfranzen.com

 We are currently planning the market and fair events we attend. The next one might be the treib.gut or Hallo Frau Nachbar market. And then I am easily to be found: in all places with good beer.

If you like to know more about Kathy and Jörg and how she founded Besserbrauer check out the Hamburg Startup Monitor Profile.

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.








WE in Focus: Christiane Brandes-Visbeck, founder of JobDigga – the Talent Scouting App for Kids.

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.

Banner-Interviewreihe-06

Almost a year ago I had the opportunity of meeting Christiane in the Carpe Diem Camp in Hamburg. It was a great experience! I spoke to her there very little but I paid attention to her session about how to do your own Business Canvas Model. I realized that she definitely knew what she was talking about although I had no idea she already had something big in mind. A while later she contacted me and she said she had an App in mind. That is great news!- I said. I work myself in the App and mobile world at Appmotion and I find it very exiting to hear about new projects.

This one of Christiane, which is in the pre-founding stage, is called JobDigga. As every business idea it comes from the need of finding a solution for a problem. This is an App kids could use to find out their strength and interests for the job market by playfully answering questions to various job missions. They won’t need to reply anymore the frightening question: “what do you want to do when you grow up?”. Once the kids like their own profile they can publish it with the permission of their parents and make it visible for certain companies. The talent acquisition staff of HR people specialized on apprentice candidates can screen these job profile and contact the kids in question. This is called active sourcing and considered as future in talent acquisition. Because the team of JobDigga feel that this process will be more satisfying and saving resources on the company’s side, their business model is that kids play for free and companies pay for the matching service and displaying their job profiles.

 Jack und Christiane. Copyright JobDigga.
Jack und Christiane. Copyright JobDigga.

But now let´s ask directly Christiane how is she doing in this entrepreneurship trip.

Hi Christiane, let me ask you something: what motivated you to have your own Start Up?

After I was employed as Director Human Resources and Corporate Communications at a middle sized bank I was stunned to see how difficult it was for us to find the right candidates for our apprenticeships. As a former Television Production Executive and skilled Social Media Person I had the feeling, that a crossmedia webTV show would be a great way to select potential candidates and to inspire other kids to get interested in their career planning early. But then we found out that GenZ is not willing to share these kinds of experiences that might include failure. So in a workshop in May 2014 called “Rethinking ambitiousTV” we decided to produce a smartphone app instead. A few weeks alter we pitched for a program called “Social Impact Start” (SIS), a German scholar ship for social start-ups. We got selected and received much support from Social Business Specialists and SAP, the main sponsor of the SIS program. Now we are in a situation that we have produced our first demo, a kind of protype that we presented to the public the first time at the Social Media Week in Hamburg this year.

And, from your experience, how difficult is it to bring your idea to life?

It is not difficult to find people interested in and skilled for working for JobDigga (that we still like to keep on a project status for now). I have a wonderful team, and it is amazing how we work together promptly without meeting much in person.

But it is very difficult to find business angels or investors that are interested in a social startup and HR topics that are relevant for building a diverse society. Most people seam to be more interested in scalable startups that promise a multimillion dollar exit (although I do believe that here is money in this business). It takes a lot of will power and patience to keep talking to people about how great JobDigga will be and that its business plan is solid and sound. That is why we are so thankful for our many supporters and evangelists.

Once they like their own profile they can publish it with the permission of their parents and make it visible for certain companies. The talent acquisition staff of HR people specialized on apprentice candidates can screen these job profile and contact the kids in question. This is called active sourcing and considered as future in talent acquisition. Because we at JobDigga feel that this process will be more satisfying and saving resources on the company’s side, our business model is that kids play for free and companies pay for our matching service and the displayed profiles.

JobDigga Prototyp

And what are the greatest victories and challenges you have faced until now along the way?

To me a victory is a kid that writes us, because it likes JobDigga and our website. To us it’s a victory when a coder is interested in working with us, a publishing house considers a cooperation or a HR professional asking us, when we go live.

A victory is when people, whose opinion we respect, give us valuable advice – even when it sometimes hurts. It’s a constant challenge that keeps us grounded. Challenging to me is also the fact that I keep cross financing JobDigga with my Communications Agency because it is so difficult to find financial support at this early stage. To be a wife, mother, agency owner and founder is sometimes a bit tough to handle.

What are your recommendations to other women who have startup ideas?

Go for it once you have a sound business model and financial means for at least 6 months to a year to support yourself. Talk to lots of people about your project and listen to them openmindedly. Don’t follow every piece of advice. There is a lot of competition out there, and not every peace of advice is well meant. Change our plan if needed. Iteration is part of the deal.

Why do you think there are so less female founders?

Women might not take risks as easily as men. Female founders sometimes have a hard time dealing with rejection. My impression is that women are more into a friendly environment and calculative risks. And many females are not so good in stressing strengths. We love to confess weaknesses. This is not always helpful in business. Saying this I don’t really worry much about being a female founder. In my opinion stressing gender thoughts makes things more difficult.

Is there a difference between female and male founders? Do female founders require special set of skills to get prepared for the startup world?

Be tough, do your own thing, be open for chances – be joyful and inspiring. This combination to me could be very female. This German seriousness is sometimes bothering me. I like to work hard and laugh much.

Advice for aspiring founders attending SWWHH?

Potential founders should prepare a casual but inspiring speech. If you have no idea, what to do, then be open for just anything. Go with the flow. I have attended at a startup weekend and found it really amazing.

Thanks Christiane! 

Foto from Outshot.
Foto from Outshot.

If you like to know more about Christiane and how she founded JobDigga check out the Hamburg Startup Monitor Profile.

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.








WE in Focus: Stephanie Döring von tvino.de

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.

Women Entrepreneur

Walking along Paul Roosen Straße in Sankt Pauli I found that there is a new wine shop. But this one has one little difference to other wine shops because this one is the result of a long adventure Stephanie Döring started over five years ago called tvino.de

laden2
Foto from Yvonne Schmedemann (mail@yvonneschmedemann.com)

Hi Stephanie, you have a cool place here. I really like it.

Thanks Sabela, we have been open for one month now and last week we became the license to be able to be open also as bar. We are planning to be full on business soon.

But tell me, you have been working on tvino.de for five years now, how come that the shop is only for one month opened? Did you need so much preparation time?

Haha, of course tvino.de is not just the shop but a the whole online project. This is our most recent baby. The story is a little bit more complex: Since I am 16 years old I knew wine was my passion and when I had learnt enough I worked as sommelier along the years in five countries and seven restaurants. My home was at that time mostly in London. At some point I decided to travel the world and learnt more about wines here and there. I met someone while staying in South Africa who challenged me to lead a new project in Hamburg, tvino.de

And what exactly involved this challenge?

The challenge was to sell wine online trying to reach a young public who would spend more than 5€ for a bottle of good wine. We had the idea to make wine easily reachable through videos, telling the story of the wine and the winery behind. This way got tvino.de started.

Is tvino.de a Start Up?

tvino.de is my project, many see it like a start up but it is not. Of course during this trip we had to face many situation which might be similar what happens in the start up world. We had an idea and we had to make it true. What we did not have was enough budget and experience.

Did you also make many mistakes?

Of course, but I believe it is fine to make them. Everyone needs to make mistakes to learn from them. In our case we started recording videos to sell wines that were more than 30 minutes long. No one wanted to watch such a long video! Also its quality was far away from fine. The most important thing is not to give up and look for ways to make it ever better and better.

What has helped you the most to succeed in this adventure?

Social media is very useful to get to be known and in our case to spread the videos. To spread the brand word of mouth works much better. Meeting people and networking is the most important. That the people gets to know you in person and to see with their own eyes that your project is your passion makes it already a personal success.

Is that what you recommend to the SWWHH participants?

Yes yes and yes. Networking, meeting people and being in everyone’s mouths is the most important. It has been also difficult for me because you need to go to many events and be here and there but at the end when you really like what you do and believe on it, it brings you a lot of satisfaction!

Do you have any other tips to those starting a new business or project?

Think very good how you are called. That is going to be your image and is going to determine who you are. At the same time, keep always things simple.

Do you think are there less women as men entrepreneurs?

I never though of it, honestly. Of course in the wine industry I have been always surrounded more by men. I always thought although that women take more risks as men.

Thanks Stephanie! I hope to see you soon, hopefully by a nice glass of wine. Where can we find you at the shop?

Same to you Sabela. Always Tuesdays to Fridays from 14:00 until 22:00 and Saturdays from 12:00 until 23:00. If not always online! 

Tarterie St-Pauli

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.

 








WE in Focus: Sandra Roggow Founder of Kitchennerds

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.

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Sandra Roggow had a dream. She always knew she will be founding something, she will be having her own business. After six months from the release of her website, I can witness that she stays confident and faithful to her project and above all, very proud. Kitchennerds is a platform that puts together professional chefs with food lovers. It puts at anyone’s disposition the opportunity to enjoy of an elaborated menu, freshly cooked by your private chef at the commodity of your own place.

Today I’m talking with Sandra at Pauline to get to know more about her adventure as entrepreneur.

Hi Sandra, how did you come to the idea of founding Kitchennerds? Did it happen spontaneously?

Hi Sabela, to be honest it was a mix of things which made me think of bringing Kitchennerds to live. My aim with Kitchennerds is try to convince people of bringing fresh ingredients back into their kitchens. In the last time I realized we are abusing from the consumption of preserved food. By having your own chef at home you can always have a look over his shoulder and observe how the magic happens. There was also another problem I wanted to solve: the fact I could not find a good database with chefs when I wanted to book one (which I had to do in one of my previous jobs). What I mean is that most of the times there was no photos of the chefs, not even an example of the menu they where able to cook and also no prices. I felt the need to make it all more transparent and the whole selection process easier and enjoyable. Being myself a big food fan have of course helped a lot in the way towards my business idea since quality, good service and fresh ingredients have always being key to me.

So Kitchennerds really looks as a solution for many problems…

Of course! Kitchennnerds makes reachable for everyone to eat like in the best restaurant with the fun of the chef interaction and the security that you know who is coming to your kitchen thanks to the videos that we display from every chef in our website. Not forgetting that everything happens at the commodity of your own home. It is ideal for any occasion and any pocket.

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Foto by Mirja Hoechst

It sounds great! And tell me Sandra, being honest, how difficult was for you to move from the idea to its actual implementation?  

Well, it has been until now very simple because I had the right contacts and help. It is now, six months after the launch of the Website, when it is starting to turn more complicated as I thought and some questions I didn’t ask me before are coming into my mind. Where can I find contacts for PR? Where to find collaboration partners? How to offer the service in oder cities in Germany?…

From where has you received most of the help?

I need to recognize I was very lucky! My boyfriend is a business angel and he is the one who has helped me the most. Without him I could not have been able to make it.

Have you ever had other ideas before Kitchennerds?

Of course I had. The thing is that also to my luck my boyfriend was there to guide me and tell me that my ideas were not that good as I thought. As I told him about Kitchennerds he was there from the beginning.

Which have been the best moments until now in your founding adventure?

The best moment was as the website was finally online. I had to show the world what I was able to do and as it came live I could not be more proud. Of course it was even more satisfying when people who I didn’t know started booking chefs throw my website!

Foto by Mirja Hoechst
Foto by Mirja Hoechst

Sandra, why do you think there are less women than men taking the risk of founding their own business?

I think it is a matter of money and status. In my circle of acquaintances many of the women founders are women with a good financial background. Normally are men who have more possibilities because they still earn more. Simple as that.

 And according to you, which is the difference between women and men when founding?

I think women are more concerned, men are braver.

Would you have any tip for the participants of the SWWHH?

Meet people, connect, talk about your ideas. Find people who believe on it and want to help you but again, the most important: build your network and exchange skills. That costs you nothing and will help you a lot in the future.

 Is there anything in your entrepreneurship adventure that you regret having done?

Not really, we all need to learn from our mistakes and that is ok. Maybe just an extra piece of advice: take your time when choosing your team. If the people you work with don’t share your dream it will be difficult to work with them together.

Thank you for your time Sandra, I wish you all the success in the world. Do not lose all the energy you have!

Foto by Mirja Hoechst
Foto by Mirja Hoechst

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.