Gloria Seibert is the CEO of a digital health startup, the digital treatment companion Temedica. Founded with CTO Clemens Kofler in 2016, their startup received financing in 2017. Pelvina, a pelvic floor training class app then followed. She did encounter some prejudice as an aspiring founder — the notion of lounging in the sun beside the Isar River during the week was the most benign. During the interview, she explained how she deals with mistakes and critical situations as the CEO of her own company, whom she considers a role model besides Elon Musk and where she has her best ideas.
What motivated you to found a company?
After completing my studies, I went the traditional route and worked as a business consultant at McKinsey for four years. All the while, I felt this strong urge to implement my own visions and ideas. My desire to found my own startup became clear. As a business consultant, I was basically dealing with the topic of digitization on a daily basis — both in a negative and positive light. There were clients who were worried about their business model falling apart. Others saw major potential in the wave of digital innovation that’s currently washing over the entire world.
Gloria Seibert: Passionate about what she does
It was important to me to have a better understanding of digital technologies, which is why I went to a software engineering school in Silicon Valley for six months after leaving McKinsey. I felt like I needed to acquire the necessary tools to really be prepared.
When we founded Temedica, my main motivation was to utilize digital technologies so patients wouldn’t feel stranded or alone anymore. That has turned into a widely diversified business model in the last three years.
Role models? More like a “multifaceted group of fantastic people”
Did you have role models when starting the company?
Role models…hmm, that’s tough. I admire Elon Musk because of everything he’s achieved and how determined he is in implementing his visions — despite all the skeptics, naysayers and opposition. I have dozens of role models in everyday startup life who help me regularly with some problem or another and who inspire me. They are friends, former colleagues or other founders. I am fortunately surrounded by a multifaceted group of fantastic people.
When and where do you have the best ideas?
I come up with my best ideas when talking with other people: with my team, my co-founder Clemens, our cooperation partners, patients, my friends or my family.
After all, health is a topic that concerns everyone and no one is immune to illness. That means you can basically find inspiration everywhere — from different perspectives and angles. That’s what makes the digital health industry so exciting to me.
Use mistakes to develop
What’s your biggest talent?
I function in a very structured way and am good at uniting people around a common subject. I think it’s extremely important to consider people’s perspectives who have different experience and expertise to create the best possible result. That requires a lot of finesse and regularly leads to heated discussions. But in the end, it usually yields good results that benefit everyone involved.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
The biggest? To be honest, we constantly make lots of small and medium-sized mistakes. We’ve also made some — particularly when Temedica was just getting started — that did put us some pretty critical situations. One of our values at Temedica is ‘don’t be afraid of making mistakes — use them as an opportunity to learn.’
It’s important to me to utilize mistakes and errors in order to develop. That applies to the organization just as it does to each individual. We would rather fall into the same trap two or three times and improve as a result than stand still and pat ourselves on the back for not making any mistakes.
“Be interested in others!”
What’s your secret networking weapon?
Be interested in others! I’m shocked time and again to see how many people go to networking events but then aren’t actually interested in other people.
Every interaction is valuable in its own right, and it’s important to me to understand what motivates the person I’m talking to as well as their points of view. When networking, my main goal is to share exciting stories and experiences. A network is then usually formed indirectly based on reciprocity.
Was being a female founder an advantage or disadvantage for you?
To be honest, I don’t think about that very much. Of course you might face certain challenges here or there as a female founder, but you usually have to battle somewhat more prejudices — particularly in the tech branch. But when the person you’re interacting with — be it a developer, investor or customer — realizes you know what you’re talking about and are passionate about what you do, gender no longer plays a role.
Lounging beside the Isar in the sun?
What are the three most offensive prejudices you’ve encountered in everyday startup life?
- That when you start a company, you can lounge beside the Isar River during the week to enjoy the sun.
- Great idea, but it’s just not going to happen. Don’t ruin your perfect resume.
- You’re way too young for all of that.
What’s on top of your desk at the moment?
To be honest, that changes from one minute to the next right now. I have a lot of operative duties during the day at Temedica, which means I rarely have time to work on major strategic matters. That’s more likely to happen at night or over the weekend. Then I have time to concentrate on those things in peace and quiet.
Where will you be spending your next vacation?
We’re working on several larger-scale topics at the moment that I can only get away from for a couple of days at a time. I hope to be able to go on vacation in winter. And then I plan to go somewhere warm where I can soak up some sun.
Thank you for the insight, Gloria Seibert, and we will be keeping our fingers crossed that you’ll manage to soak up some sun in winter.