If you google search for German female startup founders, chances are high the results will bring up women like:
- Franziska von Hardenberg (founder of flower delivery service Bloomy Day),
- Delia Fischer (co-founder of interior design online shop Westwing), and
- Ida Tin (CEO and co-founder of female health app Clue) – she also coined the term ‘femtech’, describing a category of software, diagnostics, products, and services that use technology to focus on women’s health.
It’s hard to overlook the fact that female founders are strongly represented in the lifestyle industry, which includes consumer goods and fashion. Furthermore, women are likely to found within the sectors of health and education. This might be a reflection of the educational background, leading to a focus on economics, the humanities, natural sciences, as well as creative subjects.
You would need to dig a bit deeper in order to find female founders in the high-tech sector in Germany. But they are out there.
Meet five of the most inspiring female startup founders below:
AI-enabled audio intelligence
Founded in 2012 as a spin-off from Technical University Munich, audEERING focuses on Intelligent Audio Engineering. The company develops next-generation, audio analysis algorithms using AI that makes machines emotionally intelligent. AudEERING’s technology can detect over 50 emotional states and traits. Thereby, the technology provides a groundbreaking solution for call centers, the automotive industry, healthcare & wellbeing as well as smart devices.
The company’s CEO and Co-founder Dagmar Schuller has an impressive track record even before founding audEERING. She worked as part of the Global Strategy Team eBusiness for E&Y in New York, was a Digital Strategy Consultant for DAX-companies and the Senior Vice President of Business Operations Europe at Glam Media.
Adding the power of sight to search
The Berlin-based company develops an image search engine SaaS that allows to find products and objects in images and videos within less than a second. Possible use cases include the retail sector where the technology enables more than a simple text-based mode of searching. For example, a user can image search a specific pair of white sneakers instead of typing in ‘white sneakers’ into the search mask. Moreover, use cases in the industry sector allow faster and more precise assessments and reports of information about spare parts.
CEO Anna Lukasson-Herzig co-founded Nyris while staying at home with her newborn child. During an interview with Berlin Valley, Anna shared her insights on why more women should found their own company. „There are tens of thousands of data that prove that women-only and mixed founding teams are more successful than male-only teams. The tricky thing is that people, including VC’s, are guided by their instinct – and are more likely to trust someone similar to them, so they are certainly not going to invest in a team that is black, female and Hindu.” We agree that women investing in women matters.
The startup offers a suite of insurance-focused AI tools developed to read and interpret claims documents. Insurers can develop their own modules and quickly deploy AI into their processes. This is allowing them to enhance and accelerate document intake, digital claims, and coverage checks. Omni:us is headquartered in Berlin, with a research partnership in Barcelona and representations in the UK, France and the US. The startup recently closed a $13M investment round, enabling the company to accelerate its US expansion.
CEO and co-founder Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss is a serial entrepreneur and started her first business at the age of 21. She also was selected as one of Europe’s Top 50 Women in Tech in 2018 by Forbes magazine.
Digitizing the world with AI on Aerial Imagery
The Munich-based company specialises in analyzing airborne images of large-scale areas through AI. The goal is to create digital models of cities and environments. Based on the variety of object detections, the startup has successfully supported companies in the field of autonomous driving, infrastructure, and insurance. For instance, Terraloupe can generate highly accurate HD maps for autonomous cars via deep learning using aerial images.
CEO and Co-founder Manuela Rasthofer studied electrical engineering and worked in the field of training and simulation before starting Terraloupe. In 2017, she received the first prize in the J.J.Darboven IDEE Award.
New Level of automation for IIoT and Industry 4.0
Founded by two women, the Berlin startup ZkSystems enables easy and secure entry into Equipment-as-a-service for leading industrial manufacturers. With the company’s software, machine manufacturers can go from being sellers to being service providers as they can rent out their devices instead of selling them. The used data is encrypted and stored unalterably in the blockchain, ensuring that billing is correct and transparent.
The company’s CEO Diana Rees is a serial entrepreneur who has founded two startups previously to ZkSystems. She is fluent in eight languages, including Chinese, Portuguese and Russian. CTO and Co-founder Amine Ünal is a software developer at heart and has been coding since the age of 12. Before ZkSystems, Amine worked as an IoT and Cloud Computing software developer at T-Systems in Berlin. There she engineered a smart factory for Adidas and developed backend solutions for clients such as Airbus and ThyssenKrupp.
Promoting more female startup founders in tech
We don’t want to lie: finding these female startup founders was tough. Only 4% of startups in Germany are founded exclusively by a woman or a team of women. This is why the High-Tech SeedLab is focusing on promoting more women in tech by sourcing female founders in the high-tech sector. Our goal is to achieve 35% of female founders in our acceleration program for early-stage startups. During the 10 months support, all participants receive a monthly stipend of €1,500, a premium membership for one of Berlin’s best coworking spaces, access to our extensive network of experts as well as tailor-made workshops.
Are you a women-only or mixed team that wants to turn an idea into a business and be part of a motivated group of like-minded entrepreneurs? Applications for the High-Tech SeedLab Batch 2021 open in October 2020. If you have questions about the program or your application, please contact [email protected].
This program is financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), as well as the State of Berlin.