In conversation with Melissa Günther
– The interview was conducted by Hanns Tappen
After the pitch is before the pitch. This, or similar, is how you can describe it in reference to sports competitions when you win as a startup at the StartupDorf Unicorn Pitch. After all, winning the series qualifies you to participate in the Unicorn Grand Prix next year. Today we want to take the opportunity to have a short interview with the winner of the April session. On April 7, Melissa Günther, CEO of FoundFactory was able to prevail against her competitors. At the end of the 91th Gründerstammtisch she was the winner of the Unicorn Pitch and took the Trophy from Düsseldorf to Cologne. Of course, the Gründerstammtisch (Founders’ Roundtable) took place online and therefore the pitches were also completed online. Once again, the audience decided, making the Unicorn Pitch a true audience award.
Hey Melissa, you participated in the StartupDorf Unicorn Pitch for your startup in April and won. How did it actually happen that you found out about our pitch format and then took part?
I follow the activities of the Female Innovation Hub and Zerrin Börcek. That's how I read about the event. It was relatively close, but fortunately it still worked out. The program appealed to me immediately, so I definitely wanted to take part.
Please tell those who couldn’t witness your pitch in three or four sentences: Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Melissa, the founder of FoundFactory. This is a platform that matches co-founders with each other. With founding teams, it is incredibly important that the interpersonal aspects are absolutely right. Therefore, with the help of (business) psychologists, some aspects were examined, evaluated and used as a basis for the algorithm. The matching process is therefore scientifically sound and already validated. FoundFactory thus tackles one of the top 3 reasons why startups fail: "Problems in the team".
Great theme and mission, which also convinced our audience. By winning the Unicorn in April you have qualified for the Unicorn Pitch Grand-Prix participation in February 2022. There is still a little time until then. Assuming it would already be February 2022, what news or success stories would you most like to include in the pitch?
Indeed, there is still a lot that can happen. Nevertheless, I would like to tell you in February what great teams have already found each other through FoundFactory and what cool ideas have already come out of it.
Absolutely. That would be really good news. Especially for the whole startup ecosystem. More teams, more innovation on the way. For us in StartupDorf, that’s really important. In February 2022, it’s back to the pitching plank – the Grand Prix. What do you think is important? In other words, what would be your tips for founders who have never pitched before – what should they pay attention to?
The pitch should tell a story and follow a common thread. The story should be coherent. Once you've got that down, practice, practice, practice! Then take a deep breath and always remain authentic.
Fortunately, the incidences are declining again. Nevertheless, I have to question the issue of COVID in your case as well. Online / offline, from your point of view, what has changed due to the pandemic in the startup ecosystem in which you are at home? Have you seen any concrete impact of Covid-19 in the startup event landscape at pitch events, among others?
What's definitely missing is sitting together over a drink after an event and exchanging ideas. That's also possible online, but it's time to be able to look each other in the eye again. On the other hand, without the shift of events to the Internet, it would never have been possible to participate in so many different events in different cities and usually on the same day. I take that as a positive aspect for me.
Yes, that’s true. For us “digital” people, the advantages in terms of range and travel time savings certainly outweigh some disadvantages. Your startup is based in Cologne. How do you perceive the Düsseldorf, respectively how do you perceive the startup ecosystem of our region from outside??
I think the founding community in the region is just great. I'm thrilled that everyone helps everyone else and yet everyone pursues their own project. You always get good advice when you ask. Plus, every organizer here has great events to offer. I always enjoy participating and networking here.
Dear Melissa, thank you very much for the interview. We at StartupDorf wish you much success with FoundFactory. We also look forward to seeing you again at the StartupDorf Unicorn Pitch Grand-Prix in 2022. Before that, we’re excited about the talk you’ll be giving at “Meet Your Co-Founder” – our collaborative event with Women Entrepreneurs in Science (WES) on 6/30.
Would you like to participate in the StartupDorf Unicorn Pitch yourself?
You can find more information about the pitch and the application form via the following link. You can read more in the article “Everything you should know about the Unicorn Pitch“.
The next dates in 2021 are:
- July 7 (Application deadline 6/16)
- August 4
- November 3
- December 1