Meet Ana Cristina Agüero - our first Hamburg Geekettes of the Month. Ana has degrees in engineering and management and is the co-founder of brightup GmbH - a promising startup in Hamburg.
1. First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. You hold degrees in Environmental Engineering and Technology Management. When and how did you discover your passion for engineering and technology management?
I come from Costa Rica, known for its amazing beaches and national parks. Costa Rica is a synonym of biodiversity and this natural treasure has helped the country´s economy improve via tourism. I know the value of nature and how important it is to protect it. That is why I studied Environmental Engineering. I believe that when you study engineering, what one really does is developing a sientific way of analysing and solving problems. There is no “one fits all” answer, but there is the ability for problem solving. After the problem is solved, the tricky part - the implementation - needs to be solved as well. And for that skills related to technology management are essential. After all, for changing the world, your world, you need to have the right skills and know the right people, which brings me to why I came to Germany ;).
2. You are the Co-Founder of brightup – a startup in Hamburg that tries to automate the lightening system in our homes. What are your goals for brightup?
My goal is to bring automation technology from labs to homes, in order to improve the comfort and life quality of the inhabitants. Light has a magical meaning, at least for me. Light can be romantic, it can make you feel like party, it can help you to relax, etc. And I want everybody to have access to the lights’ full potential. That is why intuitive and simple solutions like brightup are key for the introduction of technology at homes. We call our technology human friendly, the kind of technology you hardly even notice. It gives you no headaches, but satisfaction when used.
3. Your startup has four co-founders. How did you meet? What is your role?
We are 4 founders: Kiran from India, Max and Basti from Germany and me. We were all students of the double master program (NIT-TUHH) and thus spent many long hard working nights together. We realized that we are a great team that shares the passion for happy technology and entrepreneurship.
Kiran is in charge of the production and operations. Sebastian leads the software development. Max takes care of the financial and legal aspects and I do the marketing for our startup.
4. What do you love most about your work?
I love the fact that we are facing new challenges every day. We constantly have to find solutions and thus every day I learn something new and meet interesting people. It´s a life of risks and hard work, but every small achievement fills your heart with happiness, pure and shinny happiness.
5. What was the biggest challenge in your startup journey so far?
I give you a hint: We are located in Germany :) The hardest part so far has been the legal issues. There are so many contracts associated with starting a company. So many laws... And as if it was not enough: We are an international team and all the paper-work is in German (which of course makes sense but it doesn't make it easy).
6. You told me, that you are learning a lot at the moment. Which are the most important things you learned during the last months?
Well this is a hard question. I'll try to do my best. I have a combination of professional and personal learnings. I'll mention a couple of each:
- Things always take longer than planned! Always do idealistic planning. This will help you push yourself and the team to achieve the goals (almost) on time.
- Leave your bubble (what we call office) every once in a while and meet people. Get creative and relax your brain. This will help you find either the solutions or the right person who has the answers.
- Set clear rules of working or behavior within the startup. Call it a culture or a guideline, when many people are sitting in a room for long hours and under lots of pressure, you better have rules of behavior. This avoids personal problems flourishing from professional contexts.
- From talk to walk there is an abysm. You can try as hards as you want to apply the things you learned at university. In a startup, most things are learned during the walk.
7. What advice would you give to women who are hesitating to start their own businesses?
To start a company you need to find enough motivation and inspiration. Money definitely should not be the reason. If you find motivation and inspiration, in your team and your idea respectively, then don't be afraid! If you don't succeed at first, try again and again until you achieve your goals.
Want to meet Ana?
She will be giving a lightning talk at our Dine & Discuss #1 hosted by XING .
Ana's XING profile: https://www.xing.com/profiles/AnaCristina_AgueeroMurillo
Brightup's XING page: https://www.xing.com/companies/brightup