Female founders and new shareholders send important signal to the startup scene
“Startups founded by women in Germany receive just barely one-third of the investor capital of male founders. That has to change! We’re starting today,” say Jana Tepe and Anna Kaiser, the two founders and CEOs of Tandemploy. The HR tech startup founded by them in 2013 has just sold shares of Tandemploy GmbH – and very consciously exclusively to women. It is the first all-female financing round of this scale for a female-led tech startup – and a strong signal to the male-dominated startup scene worldwide.
Top businesswomen on board
With the strategic sale of shares, the founding duo has expanded their circle of shareholders to include five prestigious investors, all of whom hold top positions in the business world:
Angie Gifford, Vice President Central Europe Facebook and member of several supervisory boards
Elke Eller, HR Executive Board member and Labor Director TUI
Ina Schlie, Former Senior Vice President at SAP SE, member of several supervisory boards and business angel
Martina Pfeifer, Finance expert and business angel
Stephanie Bschorr, Managing Partner of HTG Wirtschaftsprüfung GmbH, member of several supervisory boards and former President of the Association of German Women Entrepreneurs (VdU)
The value of the sold shares amounts to a seven-figure sum; the parties have agreed not to disclose the exact amount. The timing for the “All Female Deal” could hardly be better. Amid the Corona crisis, it has once again become clear that progress is not achieved through one-sided, mostly male-dominated perspectives, but requires diverse opinions, approaches, and experiences. And that technology plays a crucial role in helping to shape the future.
HR Tech with international impact
Since founding Tandemploy in 2013, Jana Tepe and Anna Kaiser have secured a place among the pioneers of the New Work movement. The team, which now has 30 members, is conquering the international working world from Berlin. Companies ranging from mid-sized businesses to global corporations – customers include, for example, SAP, Evonik and the Lufthansa Group – use the Tandemploy software to leverage the full potential of their workforce and drive their digital transformation. Employees in 58 countries and 276 cities worldwide use Tandemploy’s Talent Marketplace to connect with colleagues for a wide variety of occasions – whether for projects, internal gigs or short assignments, mentoring, job sharing or a coffee date.
The diverse and prestigious group of shareholders with its broad expertise in tech, software and HR, as well as excellent global networks, is likely to propel these figures even higher. Also because, since Corona at the latest, many organizations have recognized that they need to invest more in their employees’ self-organization and interconnectedness. The new shareholders also see the huge potential of Tandemploy’s networking solution in a digital world and secured their shares at a time when more and more companies are interested in new ways of working and smart HR tech made by Tandemploy.
“For me, Anna and Jana are a prime example of a great founding team and their software is right in line with the zeitgeist. I’m really looking forward to joining the Tandemploy team as they grow,” says Ina Schlie, former Senior Vice President at SAP SE, member of several supervisory boards, business angel and one of the five new shareholders.
Diversity is the key – also in terms of money
Selecting investors very carefully is a tradition at Tandemploy. Integrity, diversity, a large network and expertise were criteria that potential shareholders had to meet from the very beginning. The two did not accept just any offer, even if that meant continuing with less capital. Quality beats quantity – even when it comes to money. “Of course, we also have great male investors on board from previous financing rounds, such as Werner Brandt and Michael Kramarsch. But in the current round, we deliberately chose only women,” says Anna Kaiser. And Jana Tepe adds: “We want to set an example. In the startup scene, everything should be possible for everyone, regardless of gender. That’s the only way innovation can happen.”
The future is female – so will there only be female funding at Tandemploy from now on? Jana Tepe laughs: “No, we will continue to focus on diversity among our investors. The mix of different experiences and expertise makes us successful. At the same time, we deliberately want to strengthen the visibility of women in the startup world.” And Anna Kaiser adds, “The all-female deal was the first – but certainly not the last in the tech scene!”
Tandemploy Funding History:
Two early angel investments in 2014 by Bernhard Böhm (then President of the Business Angels Association Berlin-Brandenburg) and Thorsten Becker (founder and Managing Director of “Management Angels”) were followed in 2015, during Tandemploy‘s participation in the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Berlin, by a 7-figure investment by Munich entrepreneur Alexandra Schörghuber and her Blue Lion GmbH. In 2017, former SAP CFO Werner Brandt and HR expert and hkp/// group Managing Partner Michael Kramarsch joined and invested a total of €3 million in the startup.
The two founders Anna Kaiser and Jana Tepe still hold a large part of the shares in Tandemploy GmbH.