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Women in Tech: Carla Schell from Auxxo

Carla Schell from the venture capital fund Auxxo answers our Women in Tech questions today. After studying business administration in Mannheim and Copenhagen and before working for Auxxo, she founded her own company. She has been passionate about entrepreneurship since the beginning of her professional career and after several positions in startups, she now works in venture capital.

At Auxxo, Carla Schell is responsible for the topic of ‘Platform’. As an employee from the very beginning, she drives forward topics such as brand, network and “value-add” for the fund’s portfolio companies, in addition to building up the fund. She likes to create things herself, is committed to digital education and personal development, and initiated a coding school to enable the unemployed and socially disadvantaged to participate in digitization. She also founded her own startup, “Amelia”, which is a further development program and network designed to enable female career starters to pursue a self-determined professional and private career.

Auxxo has already invested in several Munich startups, such as Anybill, Einwert, Fides, Filu and Ubimaster.

Founding with purpose

Munich Startup: What motivated you to work with startups in the investment sector?

Carla Schell, Auxxo: Since the beginning of my career, the “why” of my work and the impact I can have on others and society have been at the forefront. For years, I have been concerned about the low proportion of female founders in Germany and the fact that only a fraction of venture capital goes to them. The ‘Auxxo Female Catalyst Fund’ is the first venture capital fund in Germany that specifically addresses this issue and invests exclusively in teams with at least one woman in the founding team. We have now made 30 investments in great women with the first fund.

In our work with the portfolio, we have a strong focus on leadership and founder wellbeing and can therefore also act as an “impact multiplier” to influence what kind of companies are built with our capital. Several studies have also shown that women found companies with purpose and build more sustainable and diverse companies – a win-win.

Munich Startup: Which technology or industry do you personally find particularly interesting at the moment?

Carla Schell: The future of work, especially combined with the potential of current AI developments, fascinates me. The way we have been working for the last few decades is no longer in keeping with the times and will not help Germany to progress in the future. AI offers the opportunity to increase productivity, reduce working hours and deploy each individual where he or she brings the greatest possible added value. The key to this lies in taking everyone along on this technological journey and rethinking education. Questions such as “How can we successfully reskill and upskill employees? How do we place a greater focus on unique human skills such as creativity, emotional intelligence or storytelling in education?” are on my mind. In addition, the “how” we work will increasingly come to the fore.

Diverse teams lead to higher returns

Munich Startup: Inyour opinion, what advantages do diverse startup or VC teams bring?

Carla Schell: A number of studies have shown that diverse teams lead to higher returns. Different opinions and experiences help to make more informed and balanced decisions and different perspectives lead to more innovation. Gender is only one part of diversity.

In the VC context, diverse teams are essential for finding the best deals and making investment decisions. Unfortunately, the scene has historically been very male-dominated with a one-sided background and the same networks. However, most deals come from personal networks. And secondly, the similarity bias means that teams that are similar (gender, professional background, etc.) are preferred.

That is why the diversity of startups must be reflected in the investor landscape. Fortunately, a lot is currently happening in this direction. The 300-strong female angel network “Evangelistas” and the newly founded angel arm of “2Hearts” deserve special mention here.

Pitch tip: Show your vision and provide facts

Munich Startup: What are your three favorite work tools?

Carla Schell: I structure my private and work life largely in the note-taking tool Notion. I would also be lost without my Google calendar. For the creative “balance”, I love to let off steam in the design tool Figma.

Munich Startup: Your top tip for pitching?

Carla Schell: Develop a story in which you show the big vision and at the same time provide facts as to why you in particular can realize this vision. And: the first pitch usually doesn’t work. It’s best to practice with friends, your network or investors who are not high on your priority list.

Munich Startup: Does it seem like a good time to start a company? Why?

Carla Schell: Historically, the best companies have emerged in times of crisis. Also, thanks to new technologies, it has never been easier to validate ideas so quickly and cheaply. So yes, it’s definitely a good time to take the plunge into entrepreneurship!

Munich Startup: What do you think could be improved in Munich as a startup location?

Carla Schell: “It has never been so easy to validate ideas so quickly and cheaply”

Carla Schell: I moved from Berlin to Munich about a year ago. I particularly noticed that there are great networks in Munich, but they tend to be exclusive and rarely come together. With the exception of the Munich Startup Festival. I missed the “welcome culture” of Berlin. This is one of the reasons why I launched the regular “Women in Tech” breakfasts “Croissants & Connect”. Here we bring together women from different generations and professional backgrounds. I’ve noticed that Munich is very open to this kind of thing!

Munich Startup: Which investor would you like to meet in person? And what would you ask him or her?

Carla Schell: I don’t have any particular role models on the investor or founder side. Working in venture capital, you meet countless exciting personalities every week. And I quickly realized that you can take away a lot of learning and inspiration from every encounter. I am particularly interested in what drives the person opposite me – both professionally and privately.

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Helen Duran

Als Redakteurin ist die Wirtschaftsgeografin Helen Duran seit 2015 für Euch in der hiesigen Gründerszene unterwegs. Sie ist neugierig auf Eure spannenden Startup-Geschichten!

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