Meet Shermin Voshmgir, Founder at Cinovu.
Interviewed by Silvia Foglia, Country Manager at twago.
I met Shermin few months ago during a Silicon Allee breakfast. While I was talking with another startup, she happily came directly to me saying “Finally, another woman!”, and since that moment our paths have crossed many times again within the startup world and of course within Berlin Geekette meet ups.
Shermin was born in Vienna, daughter of Iranian immigrants. She has travelled and lived in different countries which include Spain, Australia, and Berlin for over a year and a half. She is the Founder of Cinovu, a platform for independent filmmakers and most recently one of the finalists of TWIST Berlin Pitching Competition with Jason Calacanis.
I wanted to try everything
“When I was younger, my father was always telling me ‘technology is the future, you need to work in telecommunications’, as he called it”, she explains to me. This idea has always spun in her head, but at that time she couldn’t really decide what she wanted to do in her life. She wanted to study everything, wanted to know and try everything. But she chose Business Administration. She believed this was the way to keep all doors open to every industry. After studying, she worked in an IT consulting company, but wasn’t feeling fulfilled so she went back to her studies and enrolled into a PhD program in IT Management.
In 2001, she started a research with few students on the area of video on demand business models’. What she was working on “was a good idea but too much into the future”, she explains me. “At that time it didn’t really make sense, the internet didn’t have enough bandwith, and video compression wasn’t as advanced”.
Moment of crisis – moving on
What she has been studying until that time has been interesting, but she wanted to try something new, so she quit her job and left Vienna. She went to Spain thinking she would only stay for few days but ended up living in Madrid for 4 years. There she studied film making and created her first films.
My vision becomes real
For her last movie she came to Berlin planning to stay just for a little while. One night she met an old friend from Vienna and through this reconnection she got to know Martin and Michael – now Cinovu co-founders. By the end of the night they decided to start working on Cinovu together. “The funny thing” she tells me “is that the friend I met that night in Berlin, was a colleague I was working with for the project in the university about video on demand – for what at that time didn’t exist yet”. They talked all night and at the end, in a techno bar, they decided to found Cinovu together.
What’s important? The people, the vibes!
What does Shermin like in Berlin? The people! They are creative and at the same time they are practical. For many years she has worked and lived into 2 different worlds: the business world where people are pragmatic and the creative world where people tend to be less organized but more open minded. Startup people represent both worlds: they have their head in the sky but the feet on the ground, and she enjoys this dichotomy.
Everything makes sense – I feel empowered
“For the first time in my life everything finally makes sense. I see now how all things are interconnected. And this is a great feeling: I see that my vision, after 10 years, finally becomes a reality, and that I´m making it! Now I feel 100% confident that I know what I’m doing in my field and this empowers me”.
Shermin is happy to be in Berlin, she knows you can’t really plan too much in life, you never know where it can bring you. Last year, one of her movies was selected for Cannes 2011 and this year she is following the scene from the Cinovu perspective.
Let’s see what happens next!
Follow Shermin Voshmgir on Twitter @sherminv