Eight female-led startups from four northern German states competed in the Female StartAperitivo 2022 finals on September 15 at Hamburg's Knust music club. The victory gained hempy period from Lüneburg with tampons made of hemp. The next two places went to 5pectre Optix and tœrn, two startups from Hamburg.
The main organizer of Female StartAperitivo is the Hamburg Investors Network and the name already indicates what one of the main goals of the evening was. Of course, it was also about providing a stage for female founders and their startups, but ideally it should not stop there. Women still have a harder time getting funding for their companies in a male-dominated scene. Fortunately, that's changing, so the event was able to send out two core messages. One to women, that now is the right time to start up, and one to investors, that now is the time to back women founders.
The eight startups that faced the audience's verdict were in very different phases of their business, which is why their financing needs ranged from 35,000 euros to 20 million euros. Still quite at the beginning is Sustomer from Lübeck, presented by Samira Huber. Here, an app helps people obtain information about products to make their purchases as sustainable as possible. Sustainability was the focus of many pitches, including that of Michelle Spitzer. With eco:fibr from Hanover, she produces pulp for the paper industry from leftovers from pineapple plantations. This solves a waste problem and eliminates the need to cut down numerous trees. Finally, sustainable nutrition is the goal of INOVA Protein from Roggentin near Rostock. Raijana Schiemann reported on how the startup is advancing the breeding of insects as a source of protein.
Also from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and directly from Rostock, comes hepster, the company with the highest funding request. Co-founder Hamma Bachmann is part of a team of more than 100 people that offers insurance solutions tailored for the purchase of specific products. hepster has ambitious goals; the U.S. market is in its sights, and annual sales are expected to reach 100 million euros by 2025. myStandards from Kiel is not quite at that point yet, but Christina Wittke defined markets worth billions in which her startup wants to have a say. Namely with nano pellets that enable the calibration of microanalyses. This is particularly important for rock analyses.
All pitches had promising business models and were presented with great passion and competence, so that the audience's choice was not made easy. The third most votes went to Eva Aumüller and tœrn. Eva had brought a pair of trousers called "Inge", which she had ordered online and did not fit her. Normally she would have to send them back to the online store. With tœrn, the trousers could go straight back on sale and save on logistics and material costs. Companies can still register for a pilot project. Also from Hamburg is the winner of the silver medal, Dr. Ekaterina Zapolnova of 5pectre Optix, who has developed the world's smallest broadband spectrometer, which not only saves a lot of space but also costs only a fraction of conventional devices. It is versatile to use as well, from analyzing coronaviruses to whisky tasting, as was experienced at Knust.
The winners of the evening were the three founders of hempy period, Amelie Harm, Chiara Kracklauer and Agnes Maria Paul. With their tampons made of hemp, they obviously struck a nerve with a larger part of the audience. Once again, sustainability played an important role. Hemp is much more climate-friendly and resource-conserving in cultivation than even organic cotton. The first prototype of the tampon is currently being created, for which the 35,000 euros already mentioned are needed. After this success, the founders can certainly aim for higher regions.
The final pitch of Female StartAperitivo 2022 is history, but the event series itself is far from over. In the coming weeks, there will be a series of workshops for female founders and masterclasses for investors and those who want to become them. Detailed information will follow shortly. A final event is planned for December 7, and in 2023 Female StartAperitivo is planned to grow into a nationwide event. Then female founders from all over Germany will be guests in Hamburg.