photo: Julia Zimmermann / Terraplasma

Women in Tech: Julia Zimmermann From Terraplasma

In 2011, Julia Zimmermann founded Terraplasma together with other scientists and the Max Planck Society. The Munich-based medtech company has since established their expertise in the production and development of cold atmospheric plasmas. Depending on the design and applied technology, cold plasmas can render inactive or destroy bacteria, fungi, viruses, spores, mites, odor molecules or allergens. It is this characteristic of cold plasmas that allows for their use in various fields of application, such as medical technology, hygiene, water treatment, odor management and air quality management. In our interview, we wanted to learn from founder and CEO Julia Zimmermann about what motivated her to start a company and in which industry she would invest in the future.

Munich Startup: What motivated you to found a company?

Julia Zimmermann: Many things! I wanted to help patients with chronically infected wounds and give them access to the innovative technology of “cold atmospheric plasma,” which can render bacteria (including multi-drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA) inactive in wounds while simultaneously promoting wound healing. We achieved that with plasma care® , which was approved as a medical product in 2019.

Plasma for everyone

It’s also my goal for everyone to have access to cold plasma. We accomplished that last year with the end user device FreshUp – a textile refresher with cold plasma – in cooperation with Bosch. And there are still so many other fields where cold atmospheric plasmas can be used!

Munich Startup: What do you now wish you had known before founding your first company?

Julia Zimmermann: Everything I know now.

Munich Startup: How have you funded your company so far?

Julia Zimmermann: Terraplasma GmbH is funded by development projects with customers and by licensing revenue. The subsidiary Terraplasma Medical GmbH received financial resources from investors for the development of plasma care®. Now plasma care® is being sold.

Munich Startup: When and where do you have the best ideas?

Julia Zimmermann: While in the shower or running.

Munich Startup: What are your three favorite work tools?

Julia Zimmermann: Microsoft Teams, PowerPoint, Excel – they might not be my favorites, but are the ones I use the most.

“Stay calm”

Munich Startup: What is your top tip for pitching?

Julia Zimmermann: “Stay calm – you definitely know more about your product idea and business concept than anyone else here.”

Munich Startup: Do you think now is a good time to start a company? Why?

Julia Zimmermann: With a good idea, sustainable technology, a great team and a sound concept, it’s always a good time to start a company.

‘Sustainable materials’ as an industry of the future

Munich Startup: What technology or industry would you bank on when founding your next startup?

Julia Zimmermann: Sustainable materials – for example, to reduce global plastic consumption. I’m particularly fascinated by the startup Traceless Materials, which is developing biomaterial that has the functional properties of plastics but biodegrades over a short period of time. That looks like the future to me!

Munich Startup: What do you think could still use some improvement in Munich as a startup location?

Julia Zimmermann: What I think could use the most improvement is the networking between founders and startup centers in and around Munich. 

Munich Startup: What founder would you like to meet in person some day? And what would you ask them?

Julia Zimmermann: Whitney Wolfe Herd – the founder of Bumble. My question would be: Successful founder, IPO, passing of a new bill (that makes the sending of unsolicited lewd photos punishable), family – what do you have planned next?

Regina Bruckschlögl

Nach eigenen Startup-Erfahrungen blickt sie als Redakteurin von Munich Startup nun aus einer anderen Perspektive auf die Münchner Startup-Szene – und entdeckt dabei jeden Tag, wie vielfältig das Münchner Ökosystem ist. Startup Stories, die erzählt werden wollen!

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