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Female entrepreneurship: How to make your startup interesting for investors

Doris Agneter is one of the most important women in the domestic venture capital scene. As the manager of the Lower Austrian startup fund tecnet equity, she is responsible for a volume of 50 million euros. In 2018 she won a prestigious Investor Award (Trending Topics reported) and celebrated a major exit from her portfolio. The technology supplier Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise had taken over the majority of the Lower Austrian startup Sipwise.

“Sipwise is still working at the location in Lower Austria, where it has been able to expand its activities. This makes us a success for two reasons, “says Agneter in an interview with Trending Topics. “On the one hand, because we earned money financially and, on the other hand, because the location was strengthened by a very good technology company in the long term”. In the interview, the experienced investor talks about Female Entrepreneurship, the location of Lower Austria and the difficult interface between science and industry.

“We have the research-to-value program, where we support researchers directly at universities and research institutes to turn their ideas into an economic reality. There are mentoring, coaching, trainings that deal with different aspects. We see that there is always a focus on how to talk to a business partner, how to present your invention or product, and where to find additional applications. It is important to solve problems and not necessarily have only the most sophisticated invention”, said Doris.

How do you deal with female entrepreneurship? Do you think quotas are useful?

We have no quotas and do not think that makes sense. We do not discriminate in judging whether they are male or female founders, but go for the qualifications and dedication of the founding teams. What we do, of course, is that we are very early in the colleges and universities with our Awareness and support programs represented. Together with the accent we also try to promote female founders and give them the courage to go into self-employment.

What does a startup have to bring with it so that it is interesting for their fund?

First and foremost, a motivated and dedicated founding team. It is very important to us to have a diverse start-up team that covers different areas. The team should already have some entrepreneurial experience. It does not have to be that the founders have already started a business, it’s about the mindset and that they really burn for the idea and the business. On the other hand, we also need a business model that is scalable, that is able to grow internationally.

Do you have special industries in mind?

We have a very broad base and have a broad background in our experience, from LifeScience to IT and industrial technology. We are very open.

In which areas is Lower Austria particularly well positioned and where is there still some catching up to do?

We do not need to hide in comparison to other states. We have a very consistent scene especially in the area of support and funding. We are already starting to provide support at colleges and universities. We also have the corresponding financing options with our VC fund, where we can start at a very early stage with the so-called Business Angel instrument. We can do that also very uncomplicated and fast. Then, with our venture capital opportunities, we can accompany a company to its international breakthrough.

Where is there pent-up demand?

In Lower Austria there were traditionally no large university structures. Accordingly, we do not find university hubs like in other cities. But a lot has changed in the last few years. In Krems, Tulln and in Wiener Neustadt, we focus on research, which also creates a pull effect and where large companies also settle. Also the IST in Klosterneuburg is a very big attraction. As we see some new and interesting startups are emerging.

Also published on Medium.

Published inStartups

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