WE in Focus: Jessica Brockmann Founder of 'mylocalscouts'

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 entrepreneurs in focus

Jessica Brockmann is founder of mylocalscouts, a platform which connects tourism with greater good. It helps you to connect with local people called ‘local scouts’ that share your interests and help you to explore the city you’re currently visting. So, you can share your passion with likeminded people wherever you are – all over the world! Today, Jessica shares some insights on how she founded her startup mylocalscouts from scratch and tells us about her perspective on entrepreneurship.

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Jessica, what motivated you to found ‘mylocalscouts’?

Personal need and the ability to create something completely new, not only in regard to the business model and innovation but particularly in regard to build up a company from zero. Incredible experiences, a reliable network of impressive people and the high amount of learnings every day are worth its prize of the „Startup-life“ uncertainty. I quit my full-time job as a Keyaccount and Project manager at the end of 2013 and jumped into an incredible journey with mylocalscouts during the last two years – changes and pivots were accompanying us. mylocalscouts was originally created as a sharing economy platform for local travel experiences and is now the basis for #tourismforgood. A Platform which connects tourism with greater good.

How do you experience your entrepreneurial journey so far? Was it difficult to bring your idea to life?

It is still a difficult thing! If somebody tells you it is easy to build up a successful company then i would definitely visit his or her „Best practice“ course. I don’t believe that you can establish a great company, which also has a longterm, positive impact on society, within two or three years. So you better have great personal resilience. We are working on our platform since two years and we definitely need a lot more time to improve – Frontend, Backend, Hosting, Analytics and many more segments you need to care about. Development is an ongoing process and so are a lot of tasks while bringing an idea to life. The Team is also one of the most important parts of establishing a company, we are an exceptional Startup because we are kind of a family business. Frank Brockmann, one of my Co-founders is my father. Not everybody’s cup of tea but it’s working really good for us. You definitely have a strong basis of trust right from the beginning.

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Have there been challenges you faced along the way? And do you want to share some victories or highlights with us?

The greatest challenge is to keep going every day, whatever happens. You’ll face a lot of up and downs while building up a company. Somethimes you feel like everything is working, you get positive feedback and the situation seems like „now you get it“ but i promise, the next barrier will come. But the chance of success is still there and keeps you working hard. Our greatest victory, is to exist as a company and enjoy every day of work!

So, how do you deal with uncertainty, doubts  and fears? 

Difficult question. It really depends on the situation i’m facing but to give you a little overview, outdoorsport provide a clear head, a great sparringspartner gives you the opportunity to talk about different things and family and friends are really important for a positive distraction.

Looking back, what are your recommendations to other women who have startup ideas? 

Give it a try! There are so many interesting opportunities to challenge a startup idea without wasting a bunch of resources and time that excuses are running out. Use for example Lean Startup Methods and start to learn, besides your daily work. You don’t have to quit your Job right at the beginning.

Why do you think there are so few female founders? 

Difficult to say, maybe its about the willingness to take some risks and to overcome a lot of barriers one is facing during the initial company building. Perhaps also a question of time and prioritization within our life planning but to be honest, it is not only a question about female or male. We should ask the question „Why do we think there are so few founders (female and male) in Germany?“

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Is there a difference between female and male founders? 

Sure, the first thought that comes to my mind is the ability to exaggerate and sale :), but finally its the balanced way to greater success. That’s why i would always prefer a mixed Team of founders – male and female!

What is more important when builiding a startup, “professional skills” or “entrepreneurial spirit”?

You should have a little bit of everything. Do not try to be a specialist, be a generalist with a great overview if you what to be the head of the team. But sure, a team also needs specialists, for example programming, design or financials. Try to establish a good mix of skills within your team and make sure, that they are able to work under conditions with extreme uncertainty. Keep in mind, outsourcing is also possible.

Do you want to share some advice for aspiring founders attending Startup Weekend Women

Try to learn as much as possible, have fun and start to build up you network! It’s the unfair advantage you can create right from the beginning.

Thanks Jessica for the interview and all the best for mylocalscouts!

If you want to know more about Jessica and mylocalscouts check out their website, Facebook or 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 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: Natalie Richter und Christina Nissen Gründerinnen von 'leev'

Für viele Frauen ist das Gründen eines eigenen Unternehmens spannender als eine gewöhnliche Karriere in der Wirtschaft. In dieser Blog-Serie portraitieren wir Gründerinnen aus Deutschland und sprechen mit Ihnen über Unternehmergeist und ihre Visionen, Ziele und  Erfahrungen in der Start-up Welt.

women entrepreneurs in focus

Die Deutschen sind bekanntlich Weltmeister im Apfelsafttrinken! Geerntet im Alten Land, mit Liebe sortenrein gepresst – das ist ‘leev‘, ein Gaumenschmaus aus sortenreinem Apfelsaft, den es nun im Einzelhandel und erlesenen Bars zu finden gibt. Hinter diesem Startup mit Hand und Fuß, Herz und Geschmack, stecken die beiden Powerfrauen Natalie Richter und Christina Nissen. Wer die beiden einmal getroffen hat, hegt keine Zweifel mehr daran, dass dieses Startup Früchte trägt. Im heutigen Interview plaudern die beiden aus dem Nähkästchen der Unternehmensgründung und geben erfrischende Einblicke in ihren Startup-Alltag.

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Natalie und Christina, Ihr habt ‘leev‘ gegründet. Klingt lecker, was ist das?

Klingt platt, ist Platt! leev bedeutet Liebe auf Plattdeutsch. Und ist zum Namen unseres Startups geworden. Wir sind drei Hamburger Saftfreunde und haben es uns auf die Fahne geschrieben, den althergebrachten Apfelsaft für die Menschen wieder spannend zu machen. Deshalb mosten wir ihn anders als üblich, nämlich sortenrein. So entsteht je nach Apfelsorte ein ganz eigener und eben sortentypischer Geschmack. Egal ob Boskoop, Elstar oder Holsteiner Cox – wir machen Apfelsaft, der wie der echte Apfel schmeckt! Zusätzlich gehen 2 Cent pro verkaufter Flasche an den Bienenschutz. Denn wir wollen mit leev nicht nur die Vielfalt der Natur genießen, sondern auch dazu beitragen, sie zu bewahren.

Wie seid ihr auf die Idee gekommen?

Eigentlich hat die Idee uns gefunden. Es ist wichtig beim Entwickeln einer Geschäftsidee mit offenen Augen durch die Welt zu gehen. Du musst sensibel sein für ungelöste Probleme der Menschheit oder für eben Dinge, die irgendwie anders sind – und in denen echtes Potential schlummert. So war es auch bei unserem Apfelsaft. Ich (Natalie) war vor gut 1,5 Jahren im Alten Land unterwegs und habe dort in einem kleinen Hofladen sortenrein gepressten Apfelsaft entdeckt. Ich war neugierig, habe ein paar Flaschen mitgenommen – und der Geschmack hat mich einfach total umgehauen. Das war der Punkt an dem für mich klar war: „In dieser Sache steckt echtes Potential! Hier gibt es die Chance, ein einfaches Produkt wie Apfelsaft aufzuwerten und wieder interessant für die Menschen zu machen.“
Denn, seien wir doch mal ehrlich, Apfelsaft begleitet uns doch schon unser ganzes Leben. Aber wenn wir etwas Spannendes trinken wollen, greifen wir doch inzwischen lieber zu Rhabarber- oder Maracujasäften. Das wollen wir mit leev wieder ändern!

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Wie seid ihr dann weiter vorgegangen und wie ist euer Team zustande gekommen?


Nachdem ich ein paar Marktchecks gemacht habe – also mit Gastronomen, Handel und Endverbraucher gesprochen habe – und die allgemeine Marktentwicklung von Direktsäften analysiert habe, hatte ich mein Bauchgefühl durch Fakten validiert. Im nächsten Schritt ging es darum, das Team auszubauen: Ich habe Joachim, einen erfahrenen Moster aus dem Alten Land davon überzeugt, dass leev die Chance seines Lebens ist, ein Startup für sortenreinen Saft ins Leben zu rufen. Er ist heute unser Saftmeister und Tüftler. Zu Joachim und mir habe ich dann noch Christina an Bord geholt. Gemeinsam mit ihr gebe ich der Marke nach außen ein Gesicht. Denn zusammen mit Christina, einer Freundin und selbständigen Verpackungs- und Grafikdesignerin, meistere ich nun Marketing und Vertrieb. Warum genau sie? Weil ich wusste: „Mit ihr kann ich Pferde stehlen und alle da draußen davon überzeugen, wie geil der geilste Apfelsaft der Welt schmeckt :o) !“

Erzählt doch mal, was waren eure tollsten Momente bisher?

Wir haben ein echtes Produkt, etwas das die Menschen in ihrem Alltag begleitet. Die tollsten Momente waren bisher für uns: Die erste etikettierte Flasche in der Hand zu halten. Die erste Palette in unserem leeren Lagerraum abzustellen. Den ersten Supermarkt-Aufsteller mit den eigenen Händen gebaut zu haben und ihn dann in einem EDEKA befüllt zu sehen. Und die Menschen in Cafés mit deinem eigenen Produkt in der Hand zu sehen. Das ist Wahnsinn! Wir müssen uns immer noch die Augen reiben! Es sind die vielen Kleinigkeiten an jedem Tag, die unsere Augen leuchten lassen. Unsere Säfte und die Schorle sind erst seit Mitte Dezember auf dem Markt. In so kurzer Zeit so viel Zuspruch von der Familie, Freunden, Händlern, Gastronomen und Endverbrauchern zu bekommen ist ein echt tolles Gefühl.

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Meistens kommt ja alles anders als man denkt. Was hat euch im Nachhinein überrascht?

Wir haben den Aufwand ein wenig unterschätzt, ein auf den ersten Blick so einfaches Produkt wie Apfelsaft auf den Markt zu bringen. Aber es ist ein reales Produkt, das viel Logistik und eine solide Finanzplanung erfordert. Denn die Lagerung unseres Saftes ist wahnsinnig kapitalintensiv. Willst du wachsen, musst du das mit Bedacht und Weitsicht tun. Genauso verhält es sich mit der Apfelsaftproduktion: Man kann nicht ganzjährig guten Apfelsaft herstellen! Das bedeutet, dass wir spätestens im Mai ein Lager aufbauen müssen, das uns bis in den Herbst zur nächsten Apfelernte trägt. Das ist wirklich eine echte Herausforderung. Aber wir sind ein super Team, wir werden auch das meistern!

Was glaubt ihr warum so wenige Frauen gründen?

Gründen ist mit der Bereitschaft verbunden, sich von Verpflichtungen und Konventionen zu lösen. 
Du musst vielleicht deinen sicheren und gut bezahlten Job an den Nagel hängen und kannst morgens noch nicht sagen, wann du abends zuhause bist. Du musst einfach Spaß daran haben, dich ins Ungewisse zu werfen und alles was du hast und kannst in diese Idee zu stecken. 
Vermutlich liegt es häufig daran, dass immer noch viele Frauen durch ihre Erziehung und eingebrannte gesellschaftliche Ansichten nicht das nötige Selbstbewusstsein entwickeln können, sich selbst zuzutrauen ihr eigenes Ding in dieser krassen, aufopfernden und riskanten Form durchzuziehen.
Hinzu kommt, dass Frauen eher selten Rampensäue sind. Als Gründerin musst du deine Idee gut verkaufen können – und vor allem an ihr und ihrer Umsetzung Spaß haben. Anstatt darauf zu hoffen entdeckt zu werden, musst du dich eben lautstark bemerkbar machen. Die reine Hoffnung darauf durch eine glückliche Fügung entdeckt zu werden, kann beim Gründen schnell nach hinten losgehen und du stehst mit leeren Händen da.

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Als GründerIn muss man sich auch mit Fachbereichen auseinandersetzen, von denen man evtl. keine Ahnung hat, wie z.B. Marketing, Vertrieb, Buchhaltung, Programmierung, etc. Wie löst ihr diese Probleme und wie geht ihr damit um?

Unser Motto ist tatsächlich: „wir machen alles selbst“ und lachen uns regelmäßig kaputt darüber. Aber das ist ja auch das Tolle am Gründen! Du entwickelst sehr viele neue Fähigkeiten und lernst dich selbst, deine Stärken und Schwächen, ganz neu kennen. Du musst eigentlich nur offen dafür sein, es auszuprobieren. Der Vertrieb war zum Beispiel eine solche Baustelle bei uns. Wie macht man richtigen Vertrieb? Kurzerhand haben wir ein Webinar bei einem Vertriebsguru belegt und somit schnell einfache Techniken gelernt, wie man in Telefon- und Kaltakquise geht. Der Rest ist dann learning by doing. Genauso schreinern wir unsere Displays für die Supermärkte selbst, wir sind also gewissermaßen auch unter die Tischler gegangen. Wir hieven palettenweise Getränke durch die Gegend und bringen uns selbst bei, wie man einfach eine Webseite programmiert. Es geht! Alles! Man muss es nur wollen und bereit sein, einen Großteil seiner Zeit und seine ganze Leidenschaft in dieses eine Projekt zu stecken.

Das Motto gefällt mir! Habt Ihr nicht manchmal auch Zweifel und Ängste? Wie geht ihr mir Unsicherheiten um?

Hey, besteht das Leben nicht immer aus gewissen Ängsten und Zweifeln? Vieles ist doch selbstgemacht und geistert nur im eigenen Kopf herum. Diese zu überwinden ist die Kunst und einfach das Vertrauen zu haben, dass alles gut wird. Wie Jon Kabat-Zinn es schon so schön gesagt hat: „You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf“. Und genauso ist es. Wir wachsen mit unseren Aufgaben. Und werden immer besser im „surfen“.  Auf jeden Fall ist es es wert in die Fluten zu springen, weil Freiheit und Spaß garantiert sind. Das möchten wir auch jedem auf den Weg mitgeben. Nehmt euer Leben in eure eigenen Hände und lebt eure Träume. Dieses Gefühl ist unbeschreiblich und so hoffen wir, dass einige unter Euch jetzt Lust bekommen haben in die Fluten zu springen, die Zweifel über Bord zu werfen und den eigenen Ideen und Wünschen Auftrieb zu verleihen.

Danke für das Interview Natalie und Christina und viel Erfolg für euer Startup!

Wer mehr über Natalie und Christina erfahren möchte, kann sich auf der Webseite und der Facebook Seite weiter informieren oder sich zum Startup Weekend Women Hamburg anmelden und dort ein ganzes Wochenede lang den besten Apfelsaft Hamburgs verkosten! Es lebe der gute Geschmack und erfrischende Ideen!

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Du möchtest selber ein Start-up/Unternehmen gründen? Das Startup Weekend Women Hamburg möchte insbesondere Frauen dazu ermutigen, sich als Unternehmerinnen zu verwirklichen und bietet die ideale Plattform, um deine Träume zu verwirklichen, MitgründerInnen zu finden und Dich von porfessionellen Leuten beraten und coachen zu lassen! Weitere Infos findest Du auch auf Facebook!








WE in Focus: Diana Knodel Founder of 'AppCamps'

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 entrepreneurs in focus

Diana Knodel loves to share her passion for coding with others, that is why she founded App Campsan organization that brings coding workshops into classrooms. App Camps offers learning resources that schools can use to teach basiscs of programming. The goal is to give all students the chance to experience how much fun and how creative programming can be!

Diana Knodel | Foto by Michael Huebner www.bz-berlin.de
Diana Knodel | Foto by Michael Huebner www.bz-berlin.de

Diana Knodel has a background in computer science, psychology and educational research and holds a PhD in Computer Science/Human Computer Interaction. While being a working mom in the IT industry, she loves to share her enthusiasm about tech and coding and is very committed trying to get more people – especially girls and women – into tech. Diana is an ambassador for the Hamburg Geekettes, a community of women dedicated to helping aspiring and established female tech innovators and startet the OpenTechSchool Hamburg. Besides that she is actively involved in the startup scene in Hamburg. No wonder EDITION F and D64 named her in 2014 as one of the 25 leading women for the digital future. Diana Knodel is definitely a woman to watch out for and a great role model for many of us. Today, Diana shares some insights on how she founded App Camps.

Diana, what motivated you to found “App Camps“?

It started with a camp for female high school students in 2013. We wanted to show them how much fun coding and building apps can be. The camp was fantastic. Everyone had fun and the girls developed really cool apps. The television even reported about us. After the camp we got many request from schools and other organizations for more coding camps. This is how App Camps was born.

When did you decide to turn AppCamps into a real business / Startup? 

It pretty much just happened. It was never planned to build a business out of it. It was a fun event, a side project and now it is my job. Pretty crazy, isn’t it?

It sounds like a real passion project! What have been the greatest highlights so far?

One great highlight was definitely winning the Act for Impact, a competition with more than 100 startups and projects. We did not only win 40k but also great coaching and support from the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie and the Vodafone Stiftung. My personal magic moment of 2014 was a 14 year old participant of a course volunteering to be a coach for others. At our Hour of Code at betahaus Hamburg she taught a 10year old girl about coding and app development. When I saw this I knew exactly why I love what I am doing so much!

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What about challenges you’ve faced along the way?

The greatest challenge so far was probably the time we did not have. We started App Camps on the side and soon figured out that it is far too much work. The decision to resign from a company I really liked working for was not easy.

So, how do you deal with uncertainty, doubts  and fears?

I always try to think positive. Uncertainty is part of the game and fears are human. If something not so good happens, we need to find a solution for that – in order to turn it into something good again. There is a saying “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” I like that!

You are very committed and always trying to get especially more girls and women into the tech and startup world. Why do you think there are so few female founders?

There is probably not a simple answer to this question. One reason could be that there are few female role models. And maybe women are a little bit more afraid of failure? However it feels like it is slowly changing. I know quite a few female founders and great women who are pursuing their dreams.

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

Go for it! Pitch your idea to others, find others who share your passion and get started. In the beginning it feels huge, but once you get started, you see that many things are possible. And it’s a wonderful thing to work for an idea and a topic you love!

App Summer Camp 2014
App Summer Camp 2014

What is more important to you “professional skills” or “entrepreneurial spirit”?
Probably a good mixture of both. You definitely need some skills and experience usually helps you as well. But at the same time you need to be bold at times, try things out and do crazy stuff. Entrepreneurial spirit is probably a little bit more important. Everything else can be learned.

Do you have any advice for aspiring founders attending Startup Weekend Women Hamburg?

Pitch your idea! Please do it! Also if people don’t vote for it – it’s always good to stand in front of people and talk about your ideas. I actually pitched the idea for something like App Camps at Startup Weekend in 2012. Everyone liked the idea but no one wanted to participate. “Not a money making business” everyone said. But one mentor came to me, gave me his card and offered sponsoring if we plan to do something to teach kids how to code. A few months later I called him, he sponsored the first App Camps (see question number 1) and here we are today!

Thank you Diana for the interview and all the best for App Camps!
If you want to know more about App Camps, also check out the Facebook Page. And if you like to know more about Diana, you can find her on Twitter, Xing, check out her Hamburg Startups Monitor Profile or join us at Startup Weekend Women Hamburg – we are honored to have Diana Knodel as a mentor at the event!

Diana und Philipp Knodel (Founders App Camps)
Diana und Philipp Knodel (Founders App Camps)

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 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: Miriam Bundel Founder of 'Shelfsailor'

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 entrepreneurs in focus

After attending a Startup Weekend in 2014 Miriam Bundel founded her own Startup: Shelfsailor. Shelfsailor helps you to find storage in your neighbourhood with flexible terms and a nice community. I met Miriam to ask her how she got started building her own business and to discuss her personal journey so far.

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Miriam Bundel Founder of ‘Shelfsailor’

Miriam, what motivated you to found “Shelfsailor“?
I started Shelfsailor at the Startup Weekend Hamburg 2014 with my cofounder Stephan. Later in process Florian came to us to support us as our developer. Stephan was living in New York and had to move back for a few month to Germany. He had some boxes with personal stuff he didn’t want to throw away but neither wanted to send them to Germany. So his landlord offerd him to let his belongings at his apartment while he was away. I had the same case with a friend of mine. She moved to Australia and let her room in Hamburg. She just had to store her belongings somewhere. I had space on my attic and offered her to put her boxes there. We recognized that there is a need and the market of self storaging with neighbors didn’t exist yet. We saw that as a chance.

After the Startup Weekend, how difficult was it to bring your idea to life and to make a proper business out of it?
To bring Shelfsailor into the world wide web was quiet easy. But it’s difficult to create a completely new market. Especially in Germany a lot of people don’t have the mindset yet for a sharing economy. They are frightened of risk and need insurance to feel save. Startups like AirBnb, Uber, Blalacar show that the concepts works – but in Germany it is still hard.

So, what has been the highlight of your startup journey with Shelfsailor so far?
We won an award at the Startup Weekend Hamburg 2014. That was a reason for us to go on. In November we had our first exhibition at the WebSummit in Dublin. We are still in the beginning of a long journey – so there are a lot more highlights and challenges to face.

Speaking of challenges to face – how do you deal with doubts & fears?
Of course I have time of doubts, fears and uncertainty. But my family and friends keep pushing me and I really feel strong after managing a new challenge. I am optimistic and open-minded for taking chances.

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Do you have any recommendations to other women who have startup ideas?
It’s important to have self-esteem and the courage to believe in your ideas. Believe in your strength and you will grow with every challenge. Don’t be frightened to ask people for their help or opinion. But follow your ideas and dreams.

Why do you think there are only so few female founders?
I guess most women don’t have the confidence to present their ideas, don’t like the role of being a leader or are frightened of thinking big.

Is there a difference between female and male founders?
Of course there can be a difference between female and male founders – but it depends on the character of a person. Is he or she extrovert or shy – a leader or a follower – a creative  or logical type? I think most woman have a high emotional intelligence, empathy and are good managers.

What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
The entrepreneurial spirit is very helpful to be an entrepreneur. You need to be creative, have a high level of passion, self-motivation and risk-taking. The most important thing is being optimistic and passionate about what you believe in.

Any advice for aspiring founders attending SWWHH?
Do it.

Thank you Miriam for the interview and all the best for Shelfsailor!
If you want to know more about Miriam and Shelfsailor check out the Hamburg Startups Monitor Profile.

Miriam Bundel Founder of 'Shelfsailor'

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 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: Sina Gritzuhn & Sanja Stankovic Founder of 'Hamburg Startups'

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 entrepreneurs in focus

In 2013 Sina Gritzuhn, Sanja Stankovic and Tim Jaudszims decided to found “Hamburg Startups” to enhance the visibility of Hamburg’s startup scene as well as to improve networking among it’s players. Along with extraordinary event editions such as Startups@Reeperbahn pitch, Sina, Sanja and Tim are busy creating a platform transparently displaying all Startups founded and based in Hamburg. Furthermore the team wishes to improve international relevance of Hamburg as a startup hub by monitoring the economical developments of it’s startups on regular basis. We met Sina and Sanja to ask them about their experience of building Hamburg Startups – a Startup itself:

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Sina and Sanja, what motivated you to found “Hamburg Startups“?
Bildschirmfoto 2014-01-18 um 08.54.49Sina: By the end of 2013 the three of us, Sanja Stankovic, Tim Jaudszims and myself decided to combine our strengths and networks in order to enhance the visibility and the networking of the Hamburg Startup Scene. We wanted to break the barriers between the different Startup Cluster that were quite actively networking among themselves but not among each other. This led to a very diverse and fragmented startup ecosystem. Another problem was the lack of transparency about the Startups founded in Hamburg. No-one actually knew how many startups were founded here, neither about the different industries they were acting in. Let alone about the economical impact. The three of us wanted to help to change all this. With a platform, where you find news about Startups, the Startups themselves, Startup Stakeholder in a who’s who and of course possibilities to meet up and get connected.

Wow, that sounds like a big task! How difficult was it to bring your idea to life?
Sina: It took us about two weeks! Set up of our website was quick and we had our first event after 2 weeks after we decided to found a company. After that we started to build the platform. Do take a look at our review of the last year.
Sanja: Fundamentally the sustainable development is the key. The idea is important, the execution is much more and the secret of success.

Are there any highlights or challenges you faced along the way, that you want to share with us?
Sina: Victories – we convinced 248 Startups to take part in the Hamburg Startup Monitor within 2 months time. We organized 11 own events with more than 1800 guest in summary, gained 2400 twitter follower, 3100 facebook Follower, wrote 200 Blogpost about Hamburgs Startups, reached more than 45.00 unique users with our content. That was a great deal of work, but we grow to the most frequented platform for founders in Hamburg and even compared to other local platforms in other cities we’re even better in what we’re doing. The Challenges on the other hand are quite clearly time and money. It’s only myself working full-time on this project and Tim and Sanja still have their other projects to care for. Raising money is a second Challenge, as our business model is mainly based on sponsoring.
Sanja: What Sina is saying.

You mentioned the difficulty of e.g. raising money. How do you deal with uncertainty, doubts & fears?
Sina: Well, breath deeply and after that keep on doing what’s right. 😉
Sanja: Yes! And an overconfidence in the great team and the different competences. Teamwork is everything!

Do you have any recommendations for other women who have startup ideas?
Sina: Get on with it, make a business out of it and if it doesn’t work, never mind! Try something else.  It’s an impressive feeling being your own boss and create something on your own with you own team. It’s worth trying!
Did you ever felt less esteemed? Then just go ahead and do your own thing. It is an awesome feeling 😉

Due to Hamburg Startup Monitor only 13% of founders are female. There are even less female Business Angel or VC – why are there so few women entrepreneurs?
Sina: I think we still lack female founders as role models. Women like Lea-Sophie Cramer of Amorelie, Andrea Pfundmeier of boxcryptor or Dr. Diana Knodel of AppCamps. Female entrepreneurs who keep on doing what they love, never mind which risks it might take. If its part of the normal business, other women don’t feel alone in entrepreneurship and dare the step into the founding experience.
Sanja: I am trying to found an answer for that question for a long time and i have just presumptions: perhaps some women are afraid, not risky enough or they are missing the right support? I am sure the lack of ideas is not the problem and i am pretty sure, that we have to change that fact. Thanks to #SWWHH 🙂

In your experience, what do you think is more important, “professional skills” or “entrepreneurial spirit”?
Sina: I think a set of different experiences helps. You live, you learn. Same with entrepreneurship. Both skills are helpful. I think it doesn’t matter which sex you are – all have equal challenges. It helps a lot, when you ask others for help. Get in touch with other entrepreneurs, maybe they worked out answers to problems you’re still facing. And that’s a female skill – asking for the right direction, isn’t it? So we’re skilled in openness and communication!
Sanja: It is all about what you want!

Do you want to share some advice for aspiring founders attending SWWHH?
Sina: Enjoy! Enjoy the spirit which is set free during these 54 hours. You won’t be the same person after that! It opens your eyes towards your possibilities and your strengths! You will learn more in one weekend than during an internship! And if you founded your own Startup after that, do join the Hamburg Startup Monitor! 😉
Sanja: .

Thank you Sina and Sanja 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.








WE in Focus: Anna Abraham Founder of 'Pay with a Tweet'

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 entrepreneurs in focus

Anna Abraham founded Pay with a Tweet, a social payment system, in February 2014. With ‘Pay with a Tweet’ you give people access to your Content or Product once they tweet or post about it. This is a great way to go viral in the early stages of a product launch, or to make sure your content or product spreads further across the web over time. We met Anna to discuss her personal experience as a founder of a promising startup:

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Anna, what motivated you to found “Pay with a Tweet“?  

My brother originally came up with the idea for Pay with a tweet in order to promote his own book. I saw the potential for other companies to use social currency as a marketing tool and we decided to develop it into an international SaaS Solution.

Was it difficult to bring your idea to life?

Since Pay with a Tweet was already live in beta, it was not so difficult to start the next step. It took months however, to build the new system, solve bugs and recruit the right people.

Can you tell us about the greatest victories along the way?

Our first major victory was launching the system and getting our first paying customers. You wouldn’t believe how motivating the first sales can be! After that, It’s an ongoing test & learn. I think for me the biggest victory was that our assumptions on product functionalities and the amount of viral traffic we can generate for our customers were met. Now, we can say that our tool on average brings 3 new users for every user you have on your website. That’s a huge growth potential for marketers!

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I’m sure, there are also difficult times. How do you deal with uncertainty, doubts & fears?

I try to talk them through with some people I trust and who I believe can help find answers or help make decisions. Luckily, I have some successful entrepreneurs in my inner circle.

Do you have recommendations for other women who might have business ideas?

Talk your ideas through with as many people as possible. Don’t be afraid that people might “steal” your idea, but rather use them as a powerful resource for feedback. Be open for criticism and tweak your business model if needed.

Why are there so few women entrepreneurs?

It’s a tough world out there! You need to be eloquent, have perseverance, strength and you need to want to take on responsibility. This includes having to make uncomfortable decisions. I think women tend to be more the “everybodys’ darling” type, which you simply cannot be, if you put the companies’ goals above everything.

What do you think is more important “professional skills” or “entrepreneurial spirit”?

I think you need to have both to be successful! But the entrepreneurial spirit will take you much farther than your current professional knowledge. Plus, you can always work on your skills, but it’s hard to change your attitude.

Any advice for aspiring founders attending SWWHH?

Get connected! Having people that share your passion is really motivating, when it gets tough. Help others with feedback and advice and it will eventually come back to you. I believe in good karma.

Anna, thank you for the interview and all the best for ‘Pay with a tweet’!

If you like to know more about the Startup Pay with a Tweet” 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 Facbook Page.








Katja Manger & Jennifer Meister – Why it’s worth to attend Startup Weekend #3

Do you wonder what it’s like to attend a Startup Weekend? Still unsure whether or not to attend Startup Weekend Women Hamburg? In this series we’re asking former Startup Weekend participants about their experiences and the impact of Startup Weekend in their everyday life.

This time Katja Manger & Jennifer Meister will tell us how Startup Weekend brought their Startup Coachimo to life!

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Jennifer and Katja why did you attend Startup Weekend?

Katja and I had had the idea of a platform that seamlessly matches people who want to learn or improve a skill with those who can teach that skill, for several months, however we did not know where to start in making our idea a reality. The biggest challenge we faced was to find a dedicated team who were as passionate about our idea as us. We had exhausted the contacts of our friends and colleagues, so we decided to participate in Startup Weekend Hamburg in search of talent. We were not disappointed. Startup Weekend Hamburg brought together those with their own ideas and looking for the right team (like us!) and those who were looking to participate in exciting project and share their skills.

How did Startup Weekend help to make your idea reality?

Startup Weekend was the catalyst that got the ball rolling for Coachimo, that’s how we named our Startup. Since July, we have been able to expand our team to include a fantastic developer and an all-round talent from the UK. In addition, we were able to develop our idea further by chatting with mentors and experts in our area. SWHH is a great resource, especially if you are looking for team members such as developers, designers and business minds. We particularly recommend that women participate in Startup Weekend, as it is a great place to get started in the previously male dominated tech industry.

What is the current status of your Startup Coachimo?

In the last few weeks we have released our landing page and are working extremely hard to launch our beta product in the spring. Without Startup Weekend, this would have been a much slower process, and might not have been possible at all! Finally, we are always on the look out for tech talent. If you are interested, or know someone who might be interested in joining a fast growing team who are passionate about building a great product, don’t hesitate to contact us at learn@coachimo.de.

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Thank you Katja and Jennifer, we wish you all the best for your Startup Coachimo! 

Find out more about the Startup Coachimo on the website or Facebook Page.

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: Katharina Wolff Gründerin von 'Premium Consultants'

Für viele Frauen ist das Gründen eines eigenen Unternehmens spannender als eine gewöhnliche Karriere in der Wirtschaft. In dieser Blog-Serie portraitieren wir Gründerinnen aus Deutschland und sprechen mit Ihnen über Unternehmergeist und ihre Visionen, Ziele und  Erfahrungen in der Start-up Welt.

women entrepreneurs in focus

Katharina Wolff ist Gründerin von Premium Consultants, einer Personalberatung für die digitale Wirtschaft mit Sitz in Hamburg. Mit Premium Consultants hat sich Katharina 2010 als eine der ersten Personalberatungen Deutschlands auf die Onlinebranche spezialisiert. Sie besetzt Vorstands-, Führungs- und Spezialisten-Positionen im Bereich E-Commerce, IT und Startups und bietet ein Pricing-Modell mit Startup-Konditionen an, dass auf die Bedürfnisse junger Unternehmen zugeschnitten ist.

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Katharina, was hat Dich motiviert “Premium Consultants” zu gründen?

Ich hatte zum einen eine tolle erste Chefin, die mir gezeigt hat wie man ein erfolgreiches Unternehmen aufbaut und wie spannend es ist Unternehmerin zu sein. Sie ist bis heute eine Mentorin für mich, sowie mittlerweile auch in meinem Beirat. Zudem komme ich aus einer Familie, in der ich gelernt habe, dass angestellt zu sein nicht für jeden das Richtige ist. Mein Vater ist Sänger und Schauspieler und meine Mutter leitet ein eigenes medizinisches Institut. Ich kenne also seit klein auf die Ups and Downs der Selbständigkeit und hatte keine Angst davor.

War es schwierig deine Idee in die Tat umzusetzen?

Eigentlich ganz einfach, denn ich hatte eine sehr genaue Vorstellung davon, wie genau sich meine Dienstleistung von anderen unterscheiden soll und hab dann einfach gemacht. Das ist glaub ich auch der beste Tipp, den man geben kann: Einfach machen und nicht zu lange in der Theorie verharren. Das gebe ich auch an alle Gründer von den Startups weiter, in die ich investiere.

Was sind die größten Erfolge und Herausforderung die Du erlebst?

Das tollste was ich erleben darf, ist die Dankbarkeit, wenn man einen Arbeitnehmer und einen Arbeitgeber zur gleichen Zeit glücklich gemacht hat und dafür sogar noch ein Honorar kassieren darf. Persönlich war die erste Veröffentlichung im Handelsblatt und in der Wirtschaftswoche ein echter Meilenstein für mich. Die größte Herausforderung war es, das erste Mal einen Mitarbeiter feuern zu müssen. Das ist bis heute die unangenehmste Aufgabe, die man, aus meiner Sicht, als Unternehmer hat.

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Wie gehst Du mit Selbstzweifel und Unsicherheiten um?

Ich zweifele nur noch selten an mir oder meinem Produkt, weil ich mittlerweile sehr genau weiß, was ich kann, aber eben auch was ich NICHT kann. Und das ist eine Menge. Aber daran kann man arbeiten und man lernt stetig dazu, sprich es gibt keinen Grund wirklich an sich oder seinem Unternehmen zu zweifeln. Man muss manche Fehler machen, um daraus zu lernen und man darf dabei auch mal auf die Nase fallen. Man muss nur eben immer wieder aufstehen und besser werden.

Was empfiehlst Du anderen Frauen, die eine Business-Idee haben oder dabei sind ihr eigenes Unternehmen zu gründen?

1. Nutze, dass Du eine Frau bist, ohne Dich dabei auf Dein Geschlecht zu reduzieren oder darauf zu verlassen.
2. Verstehe wie Männer ticken und wandele es in Deine eigen Art um. Nur wer lernt wie ein Mann zu denken, kann als Frau gewinnen.
3. Wenn Dir ein Mann doof kommt oder sogar sexistisch anzügliche Bemerkungen macht (und das wird Dir definitiv irgendwann passieren): Lass Dich nicht einschüchtern, sondern schlag mit Worten zurück. Er wird es danach nie wieder tun. Schlagfertigkeit kann man lernen!

 Warum gibt es so wenige weibliche Gründerinnen?

Weil es bisher noch zu wenig weibliche Vorbilder in dieser Rolle gab. Aber wir werden mehr! Ich selbst achte als Investorin stark auf die Teams und habe am liebsten mindestens eine Frau im Team. Das gelingt nicht immer, aber immer öfter. Je mehr Investorinnen und je mehr weibliche Gründer-Vorbilder es gibt, desto mehr Gründerinnen wird es geben.

GIbt es denn überhaupt Unterschiede zwischen weiblichen und männlichen Gründer/innen?

Auf jeden Fall! Frauen und Männer ticken komplett unterschiedlich und haben andere Schwerpunkte und Interessen. Daher funktioniert die Kombination aus ihnen so gut! Eine Frau/ein Mann ist aber weder besser noch schlechter aufgrund ihres/seines Geschlechts!

Was ist wichtiger, um langfristig Erfolg zu haben: Fachkenntnisse oder Unternehmergeist?

Es ist beides unheimlich wichtig! Du wirst keinen Kunden überzeugen, wenn Du nicht ein hoch professionelles Produkt anbietest und Du wirst nicht erfolgreich, wenn Du nicht 100 % für Dein Produkt brennst und wirklich Spaß daran hast Nachtschichten zu schieben, weil es Dir nicht vorkommt wie Arbeit. Es gibt also kein ODER bei dieser Frage. Frauen sollten häufiger lernen zu Coden, damit sie auch technische Produkte gut verstehen und selbst herstellen können. Das hab ich immer vermisst. Ansonsten haben wir genauso gute Chancen wie jeder Mann da draußen mit unseren Fähigkeiten.

Hast Du Tipps für Teilnehmer/innen des SWWHH?

Glaubt an Euch und Eure Idee ohne dabei arrogant zu werden, kommt von der Theorie schnell in die Praxis und guckt Euch genau an mit wem ihr gründet und ob das aus der richtigen Motivation heraus erfolgt. Man braucht nicht zwingend einen Co-Founder um erfolgreich zu werden.

Danke Katharina für das Interview!

Wer mehr über Katharina und Premium Consultants erfahren möchte, kann sich auf der Webseite und dem Hamburg Startup Monitor Profil weiter informieren.

Du möchtest selber ein Start-up/Unternehmen gründen? Das Startup Weekend Women Hamburg möchte insbesondere Frauen dazu ermutigen, sich als Unternehmerinnen zu verwirklichen und bietet die ideale Plattform, um deine Träume zu verwirklichen, MitgründerInnen zu finden und Dich von porfessionellen Leuten beraten und coachen zu lassen! Weitere Infos findest Du auch auf Facebook!








Ira Tittler – Why it’s worth to attend Startup Weekend #2

Do you wonder what it’s like to attend a Startup Weekend? Still unsure whether or not to attend Startup Weekend Women Hamburg? In this series we’re asking former Startup Weekend participants about their experiences and the impact of Startup Weekend in their everyday life.

 

Ira

 

Ira, you have been to a Startup Weekend before, what was your experience?
The Startup Weekend in Hamburg was a super fun weekend which freed up so much creativity and team dynamic. If you come with an open mind and with innovative ideas you’ll get the chance to explore what it takes to send them on their way.
Within 2.5 days you meet so many helpful, friendly and inspiring people from whom you can learn pieces of advice in building up a business idea, drafting a design or their motivation to code and at the same time you start using your strengths to build the idea. I liked Startup weekend so much, that I continued to coach a Startup Weekend in San Francisco the next year.

 








WE in Focus: Freya Oehle Founder of Spottster

women entrepreneurs in focus

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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Photo by HypoVereinsbank

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?!

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Photo by HypoVereinsbank

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!

If you like to know more about Freya and how she founded Spottster check out the Hamburg Startup Monitor Profile and watch the 37 Grad Documentary – Jung & Erfolgreich.

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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.