Women in Tech: Lena Naderer from Filu

Filu is a modern, feel-good veterinary practice with several locations across Germany. The startup offers digital services such as online appointment booking and state-of-the-art medical equipment with operating theaters and an in-house laboratory. We spoke to Anna Magdalena (Lena) Naderer about how she came up with the idea of making veterinary practices more digital and what this has to do with "Feel Good".

Munich Startup: What kind of education and career path do you have?

Lena Naderer: I qualified in veterinary medicine at LMU Munich in 2013 and completed my doctorate in veterinary medicine in 2015. I then gained practical experience in various veterinary practices. Due to the high workload and low recognition in the profession, I switched to a pharmaceutical company, so I basically went into science. Before founding Filu in 2022 together with Christian Uwe Köhler (CEO) and Justus Richard Buchen (COO), I also completed an Executive MBA at the IESE in Munich. These forks in the road gave me the vision and courage to take veterinary medicine to level 2.0.

Munich Startup: What motivated you to found the company?

Lena Naderer: I am a passionate vet and love my profession, medicine and working with animals. However, the general conditions for vets are not very good: a lot of stress and work but little social recognition. It is often difficult to combine the profession with family and free time. I founded Filu to change this and create a veterinary practice where everyone, especially the employees, feel comfortable. Filu not only stands for excellent veterinary medicine, but also for New Work and work-happiness. We embody a new generation of veterinary practices.

Lots of time for employee and location searches

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

Lena Naderer: How many different questions you are confronted with that you didn’t expect beforehand. There is more behind a veterinary practice and a company to expand it than you might think. I imagined the search for suitable practice premises in different cities would be easier. You have to search for a very long time until you find a location where everything is right. I also invest a lot of time in finding staff and communicating with the team – that’s incredibly important to me. It’s easy to underestimate how much time this takes.

Munich Startup: How has your company been financed so far?

Lena Naderer: We have found great investors who are a great fit for us and our mission, such as Lukas Keindl, the founder of the US veterinary practice BondVet, Michael Koch, who used to work at Fressnapf, and YZR Capital, which specializes in health innovations. This enabled us to raise a total of 7.5 million euros in the seed round to start rolling out our Feel Good practices throughout Germany.

Lena Naderer: “You ‘only’ have to implement great ideas”

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

Lena Naderer: Outdoors in nature and when I spend time with my cats Rudi and Socke. Or on the back of my horses and bikes. It clears my head for new ideas and to develop fresh approaches. But especially when exchanging ideas with other vets and TFAs (veterinary assistants). Everyone has such great ideas, you “only” have to implement them.

Munich Startup: What are your 3 favourite work tools?

Lena Naderer: I really enjoy working with our state-of-the-art ultrasound and X-ray equipment and – if anaesthesia is necessary – with inhalation anaesthesia. Everything is linked to the practice software and the technology is suddenly fun! Our digital patient file, which we create for all the animals we treat, also makes everyday life at the veterinary practice much easier. This data is important for improving veterinary medicine. Our practice tools save a huge amount of paperwork and administration.

Pitch tip: “Stand by your dreams”

Munich Startup: Your top tip for pitching?

Lena Naderer: Be authentic, be yourself and stand by your dreams. Show that you have the power to make a difference and that you are passionate about what you do.

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

Lena Naderer: Yes, because startups are now also recognized in Germany as drivers of economic innovation and prosperity and represent an important economic pillar. Startups are important drivers for Germany as a business location. There are no good or bad times for founding a company, you always need a large portion of courage and confidence as well as a clear vision. If you have that and a good business model, nothing can go wrong.

Munich Startup: Which technology or industry would you focus on for your next startup?

Lena Naderer: DefinitelyAI. It plays an important role in medicine. As soon as there are market-ready AI applications for everyday veterinary practice, we will use them and will certainly be a pioneer. There is already a lot on the horizon. For example, AI-based diagnostic tools are conceivable. AI often sees more than the naked human eye. These are exciting topics for the future.

Subsidies for paying rent?

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

Lena Naderer: Munich is a great location and very tech-oriented and open. However, the location is also very expensive due to the high rents. This should be offset by subsidies, especially for young entrepreneurs.

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

Lena Naderer: I already know the founders of Bondvet – luckily! But if I travel further back in time, it’s Elizabeth Blackwell. As the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States, Blackwell paved the way for women in medicine. She founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and promoted the education of women in medicine. Or Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch. I would also be very interested to meet the founding team of Biontech.

However, I am particularly curious to get to know founders who focus not only on success, but also on a positive working environment. Google, Salesforce and Microsoft come to mind.

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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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