Computer scientist Julia Flötotto founded a startup with three partners. Smart4Diagnostics, or S4DX, aims to digitize the path taken by blood samples from when they’re drawn all the way to the lab. Find out here how the startup benefits from the exchange of ideas and diversity, what’s important to the founder and what influences her.
Munich Startup: What motivated you to found a company?
Julia Flötotto: The desire to design and create something myself. Discovering a market niche, inventing and developing a product while interacting with customers and users, building a team — those are all challenges that I love. My goal is to create sustainable change and improvement by doing these things. Achieving that is the only way a startup can survive.
“Then the veil suddenly lifts”
Munich Startup: Did you have role models when starting the company?
Julia Flötotto: Günther Faltin, the founder of Teekampagne, is a role model. The approach of taking a critical look and analyzing the status quo to develop new and fair business ideas — especially if you aren’t a specialist in the field — is something I find very exciting. If those new ideas also promote sustainability and efficiency, then it doesn’t get better than that in my eyes.
Another role model is my father, who is also an entrepreneur. His tremendous energy, perseverance and also his modesty and appreciating that every single employee plays a part in overall success are key elements that really influence me.
Munich Startup: When and where do you have the best ideas?
Julia Flötotto: I usually develop ideas while talking with others. During a discussion, it’s like the veil is suddenly lifted and everything becomes clear and logical.
Julia Flötotto: A woman with infectious energy
Munich Startup: What’s your biggest talent?
Julia Flötotto: I think I have a lot of “infectious” energy and can get others excited.
Munich Startup: What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?
Julia Flötotto: It’s a major misconception to assume that others work the same way you do. To me, it’s always challenging and interesting to see how different people are and how we as a team and managers — “team builders” — are able to justice to that.
Munich Startup: What’s your secret networking weapon?
Julia Flötotto: Being open minded and curious about other people.
“Diversity helps us immensely”
Munich Startup: Was being a female founder an advantage or disadvantage for you?
Julia Flötotto: As a female founder and computer scientist, you attract a certain amount of attention. But that has always helped me go my own way. Because I founded the company with three men, I haven’t noticed any drawbacks. Diversity helps us immensely.
Munich Startup: What are the three most offensive prejudices you’ve encountered in everyday startup life?
Julia Flötotto: I’ve yet to encounter any prejudices. As someone who’s “exotic,” I feel pretty free in that respect.
Next up – recruiting thanks to the EIC Accelerator
Munich Startup: What’s on top of your desk at the moment?
Julia Flötotto: Recruiting. We were accepted as part of the EIC Accelerator of the European Union in December, which will allow us to grow in a much different way. We’re looking for software developers, a QM manager, lean production manager and an office manager.
Munich Startup: Where’s your next vacation destination?
Julia: Skiing with my family in Austria.