Female Founders Award 2023
On April 26, 2023, the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany) presented its Female Founders Award for the fourth time in Berlin. Two female founders received the award to celebrate and honor their visibility and networking while serving as an inspiration and motivation for other women across Germany to become entrepreneurs. You can find more details in the event report here.
The winners of the Female Founders Award 2023 are:
- Natalya Nepomnyashcha, Founder, Netzwerk Chancen
- Irene Selvanathan, CEO & Co-Founder, NEUROSPACE GmbH
Launched in 2019, the Female Founders Award aims to set an example and honor successful female founders as positive role models, as women are still a minority in the start-up ecosystem on both sides of the Atlantic. The award brings together the values of American entrepreneurial spirit and German entrepreneurship as well as the activities of AmCham Germany in the context of entrepreneurship and diversity/women in leadership. We especially encouraged female talent operating in the fields of technology, electronics, engineering, or other branches commonly underrepresented by women to apply.
Congratulations to the winners of this year's Female Founders Award!
Natalya Nepomnyashcha, Founder Netzwerk Chancen
About Natalya Nepomnyashcha
Born in Kiev in 1989, Natalya Nepomnyashcha grew up in a socially deprived area in Bavaria. Without ever having obtained her A-Levels, she got a Master's degree in Great Britain in 2012. After studying international relations, she worked for one of the world's largest management consultancies and an NGO from West Africa, among others. In 2016, she founded Netzwerk Chancen as a side hustle. Since its foundation, Natalya has been running the company on a voluntary basis alongside her full-time job
About Netzwerk Chancen
Netzwerk Chancen is a social start-up that improves career opportunities for people from disadvantaged social backgrounds. We provide free career support for over 1,800 young adults incl. coaching, workshops, mentoring and jobs. We also push for social change and campaign for equal opportunities for children, youths and adults from underprivileged families. Additionally, we support companies in their endeavours to internalize social diversity.
Irene Selvanathan, CEO & Founder, NEUROSPACE
About Irene Selvanathan
As project lead at a satellite company, she developed the tracking system based on remote sensing data and GROOVE, a CubeSat designed for fast on-orbit verification of hardware in space. From 2015 to 2020 she was the Project Lead at a launch providing company responsible for a separation system for small satellites, which was successfully launched on multiple missions for Soyuz-Rocket. For more than two years she worked at the aviation company as a project manager for multiple projects and has a scientific background in the field of GaN-Electronics working at a scientific institute. Irene holds a Dipl.-Ing. degree in electrical engineering from the TU-Berlin.
NEUROSPACEis a NewSpace company based in Berlin. NEUROSPACE was founded in 2020 by a group of experienced engineers in the fields of software, hardware, physics, and space engineering. Our approach is to keep up the NewSpace approach by standardized and cost reducing technology. With HiveR we created a novel concept of a modular, affordable, and adaptable rover platform for Moon and Earth application.
The following founders earned the distinction of Honorable Mention for their participation in AmCham Germany’s Female Founders Award in 2023:
Dr. Kathrin Goldammer, CEO & Co-Founder, Localiser RLI GmbH
About Dr. Kathrin Goldammer
Kathrin Goldammer is an electrical engineer and physicist, and serves both as the managing director of the Reiner Lemoine Institute in Berlin as well as the CEO of Localiser. Kathrin is also one of the co-founders of the international Women in Green Hydrogen network and has numerous honorary appointments and council positions. Among other things, she serves as the spokesperson for energy technology in the German capital region and she is the co-chair of the Berlin climate mitigation council. Her favorite topics besides the energy transition are diversity in STEM, leadership and new work.
Localiser is a tech-startup that develops software for electric mobility infrastructure planning. The company’s full name is Localiser RLI GmbH and it was founded by Kathrin Goldammer and Oliver Arnhold in 2018. Localiser provides the numbers and tools that charge point operators and utility companies need in order to find the best locations for future charging points, forecast their performance and make sound business decisions. The Localiser algorithm is completely digital, data-driven and web-based. Apart from e-mobility, Localiser also applies its data science and platform-expertise to other low-carbon infrastructure issues and developed Germany’s first regional hydrogen marketplace, facilitating projects between partners and making it easys to start building a hydrogen economy.
Maxie Matthiessen, CEO & Founder of FEMNA Health GmbH
About Maxiw Matthiessen
Matthiessen is an internationally award-winning entrepreneur with a passion for women's health & social impact. She has founded two companies, Ruby Cup and FEMNA Health. Next to her entrepreneurial life, she consults and offers pitch training for various startups and companies. The following are some of her clients: VW, Vodafone, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Impact Hub Berlin and GTECH. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, she worked in corporate strategy & development, drafted studies for the UN General Assembly, consulted on micro-finance topics, and organized high-level roundtable discussions at the EU Parliament. Maxie Mattthiessen holds a Master degree in International Business & Politics and Bachelor degree in Business, Language & Culture from the Copenhagen Business School and was a visiting student at the Universidad Autónoma (Madrid) and University of California (Berkeley).
About FEMNA Health GmbH
FEMNA Health is Germany’s leading e-Health platform offering education about and therapeutic solutions for women’s health.
About Leitha Matz
With 20 years of successful technology project launches in the US and Germany, Leitha Matz, PMP, now resides in Berlin. She is Chief Product Officer and co-founder alongside CEO Karolina Decker and CMO Rica Klitzke at finmarie: Europe’s first financial platform by and for women. Leitha also co-founded the award-winning German FinTech Zuper GmbH, as well as Mind the Gap (MtG) e.V., a nonprofit community organization focused on advancing financial equality for women. Previous work included launching data products for The Adecco Group’s Global Tech Center, developing online customer service operations for logistics company FedEx, and building ecommerce systems for FreshDirect.com (acquired in 2021 by Ahold Delhaize). Leitha is also a frequent speaker and startup mentor, and was a co-author of “Finanzen Sind Weiblich,” a handbook for women’s financial independence, published in 2022 by Gabal Verlag.
Founded in 2018, finmarie is a B2C financial platform that focuses on helping women launch their journeys in investment and financial strength. finmarie creates a hybrid human-digital model that helps women to get savings, insurance and investment on track with e-learning, a personalised portfolio quiz, a robo-advisor and partner fintech tools. Backed by High-Tech Gründerfonds and Wallstreet:Online AG, the team is working to create gender equality by bridging the financial gaps women face in pay, pension and investment, and was independently rated by Vested VC as a "High Impact Company" (65/100 score) with direct positive impact on 5 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Nadine Bütow, Head of Communications Europe, LONGi Solar; Member of Digital Media Women e.V.
Nadine is the Head of Communications Europe for LONGi Solar, moderator, consultant and speaker with a focus on diversity, gender equality, leadership and entrepreneurship. At Germany’s largest online network for women, Digital Media Women (#DMW), she campaigns for the visibility of women on public stages as well as giving women a share of voice in the era of digitalization. At the DMW, she is also studying companies with at least 30 percent of female representation in the top three management levels.
Dr. Guido Brinkel Head of Regulatory Policy and Director Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Germany
As Head of Regulatory Policy and Director Corporate Affairs at Microsoft Germany, Guido is responsible for the external political and regulatory relations regarding telecom regulation, cybersecurity and data protection. Previously he served as Head of Public Affairs for United Internet in Berlin and Brussels. From 2007 until 2011 Guido served as Head of the Media Policy Department at BITKOM, Germany's largest ICT association. He is member of the board of the German Association for Voluntary Self-Regulation of Digital Media service providers (FSM e.V.). Guido studied law at the University of Göttingen and the Trinity College Dublin and holds a PhD degree. He is specialized in telecom regulation, intellectual property, cybersecurity, e-commerce and data protection law and has published several scientific articles on these topics.”
Maria Gross, Managing Director, GERMANTECH
Change (and her love for the city of Berlin) is the only constant in Maria's life - that's why she keeps on questioning the status quo, develops new ideas and gets her energy out of the challenge. She started her career at Daimler, studied Nonprofit-Management and travelled the world. Just to learn that everything she always seeked was working in a diverse field. After working for different accelerators & incubators and failing & learning with her own startups she joined GERMANTECH. As the Managing Director she loves bringing together diverse stakeholders to learn from each other and work on a sustainable future.
Prof. Dr. Torsten Oltmanns, Regional Chair Berlin-Brandenburg, AmCham Germany
Carolin Schäufele, CEO & Managing Editor, SHE works!
Carolin Schäufele is the founder of "SHE works!", the business and career magazine and platform dedicated to female entrepreneurs. The digital magazine addresses a variety of topics and niche issues relevant to female founders helping them to manage the short and long term challenges ahead.
Since its founding in 2015, "SHE works!" and its quarterly e-magazine reaches up to 950,000 readers.
Andreas Schwaiger, Vice President, Managing Director Germany, Texas Instruments Deutschland GmbH
Andreas Schwaiger started his professional career at Texas Instruments (TI) in 1997, working in a variety of roles across different functions before being appointed Managing Director of TI Germany and Vice President. He is a member of the AmCham Germany Executive Committee, is wholeheartedly engaged in initiatives like NextGen and a jury member of the Female Founders Award since its start. Andreas Schwaiger is excited to uphold TI’s commitment to STEM development from school through university to a career in Engineering, particularly focusing female development in these areas. As executive sponsor of TI’s CSR branch in EMEA, he is strongly engaged in the team’s efforts, supporting initiatives like Girl’s Day and Female Tech Leaders, and was recently named mentor for the initiative #BayFID supporting female talents in digital professions. For him, TI’s commitment to drive innovation and support start-up initiatives matches perfectly to the engagement with the AmCham Female Founders award.
Edith Stier-Thompson, Managing Director, news aktuell GmbH
In 1999 Edith Stier-Thompson moved from the Associated Press news agency to the dpa group. She was in charge of the sales department of dpa Picture Alliance GmbH and was appointed Managing Director in 2007. Since 2014 she has been Managing Director of news aktuell GmbH, a subsidiary of the German Press Agency dpa. She is a founding member and on the extended board of the Association of Global Women in PR Deutschland e.V. The association aim to strengthen women in communication through mentoring and networking, encouraging them to take on leadership roles.
- Allison Dring, Co-Founder & CEO, Made of Air
- Diana Heinrichs, Co-Founder & CEO, Lindera GmbH
- Maria Möller, Co-Founder & CEO, talking hands flipbooks GmbH
Honorable Mentions 2022:
- Lara Obst, Co-Founder & Climate Officer, THE CLIMATE CHOICE
- Anne-Sophie Panzer, Co-Founder & Head of Creators, ZAUBAR
- Hannah Helmke, Founder & CEO, right. based on science
- Julia Piechotta, Co-Founder & CMO, CFO, Spoontainable
Honorable Mentions 2021:
- Dr. Sophia Doll, Co-Founder & Managing Director, OmicEra Diagnostics
- Katharina Mayer, Founder & CEO, Kuchentratsch
- Dr. Amelie Wiedemann, Co-Founder & Chief Science Officer, DearEmployee
- Zarah Bruhn, Co-Founder & CEO, Social-Bee gGmbH
- Xenia Scholl, Co-Founder & COO, TeleRetail
- Michelle Skodowski, CO-Founder & COO, BOTfriends
Honorable Mentions 2019:
- Michaela Hagemann, das boep GmbH
- Natascha Hoffner, herCAREER
- Tabea Grzeszyk, Hostwriter
- Lubomila Jordanova, PlanA.Earth GmbH
- Elena Kokkinara, InflightVR
- Jenny von Podewils, Leapsome GmbH
- Farina Schurzfeld, Selfapy