Photo: Nebumind

Women in Tech: Caroline Albert From Nebumind

The Munich startup Nebumind has developed software that allows production companies to make their manufacturing more transparent and systematically optimize it. The software collects and processes data so production departments can trace and remedy quality defects faster. The company was founded in 2019 by Caroline Albert and Franz Engel. In our interview with Caroline, we wanted to find out what she would have liked to have known before starting the company and what industry she would bank on in the future.

Munich Startup: What motivated you to found a company?

Caroline Albert: I was always interested in having my own company, not least because my father is an entrepreneur. On top of that, I was able to found a subsidiary and set it up with my current co-founder while working for Airbus. As a result, I wasn’t intimidated by the basics of founding a company. What gave me the last push is the vision for Nebumind. Generating knowledge from data is still in its infancy in the world of production. I see huge potential in the area and look forward to being a part of shaping the factories of the future.

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

Caroline Albert: How much patience you need, at least in an industrial environment. After an interesting conversation, it’s normal for it to take up to two months for a follow-up, three months to get a non-disclosure agreement signed and a year to establish the final contract. Especially in the beginning, we were much too optimistic in how we envisaged our business plan and had to regularly postpone project launches.

What’s also important is not just patience, but also a certain amount of persistence. If a company doesn’t respond, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested. Some topics just get lost in the shuffle. Which is why I would highly recommend that you always stay in touch with your customers until you get a “no.”

First funding round planned for spring 2023

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

Caroline Albert: We’ve been financed by customer and funding projects so far. Especially during the first two years of development, we offered customers advisory support, for example when introducing new machines or evaluating data on production. On the one hand, these projects secured our funding, and on the other hand, we were able to incorporate the feedback from production departments right into the further development of our software.

At the end of this year, we want to take the next step and accelerate our growth, which is why we’re planning our first funding round for spring 2023.

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

Caroline Albert: My morning jog is when I have the most peace and quiet in order to think about new ideas and sort out my thoughts. Then I grab a cup of coffee and get started.

Munich Startup: What are your three favorite work tools?

Caroline Albert: I think Trello is great for planning my week, quickly making to-do lists or setting up reminders for the coming week. I just recently discovered Miro for recording ideas and brainstorming. For in-house processes and procedures, we use Jira. As soon as you’re familiar enough with Jira to program certain procedures yourself, Jira replaces a lot of isolated solutions. For us, Jira is Salesforce, Datev and Personio all in one, just more affordable and from one source.

Important signal: positive feedback from the market

Munich Startup: What is your top tip for pitching?

Caroline Albert: Don’t let it throw you off if you can’t get every investor on board. If you’re getting positive feedback from the market, then you’re on the right track.

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

Caroline Albert: There’s a lot of money in the market, and investors are eager to invest in new ideas – so it’s certainly a good time to start a company. In my opinion, however, you shouldn’t overestimate the funding options. A real hype has broken out in Germany in recent years. Investments are often made in very early startup stages when it’s not even clear yet if there’s a market for the new product. Startups can quickly end up being overvalued.

That’s why in my mind, in addition to funding options, it’s just as important to know how the market and potential customers are doing. In the last two years, industrial companies have suffered greatly, and they were reserved about making investments in new technology. That’s a fatal situation for startups, because they didn’t sell much on the one hand, and on the other, they had a lack of feedback from the market for developing their product further. It looks like the market is recovering, but the startup hype in the financial world still isn’t reflected as strongly in the industrial world.

Lots of room for new technologies and solutions

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

Caroline Albert: I would bank on technologies involved in the assessment and improvement of CO2 consumption in production. The issue is just up and coming, and new regulations are forcing industrial companies to take action. There is still a lot of room for new technologies and solutions – perfect for startups.

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

Caroline Albert: Offices in Munich are extremely expensive. The fact that people have come to appreciate the option of working from home in the last two years and that offices are being used less and less increasingly brings up the issue of office costs. I’ve been waiting for office rents to drop as a result, because I’m an office fan. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened yet.

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

Caroline Albert: There’s an excellent biography by Phil Night, the founder of Nike. He describes himself as a very reserved individual and a terrible salesperson. I would really like to ask him about his career path, and about the ups and downs while building Nike.

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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