LUMUS is an investment club that provides education and facilitates high-potential investment opportunities in the CEE region.

Founder Talks with CEO Ajda Mrzel Kaluza

Ajda Mrzel Kaluza is a mother, a former banker and now she turned to the startup world. After working in a bank for more than a decade, she founded Arvio — a software company that develops tools for real estate professionals, banks, insurance companies,… and other people who are interested in the real estate market.
Their software can automatically determine the value of the real estate, its appropriateness for collateral generates a short report, or just automatically collects information for an expert to review.

What is her story about the startup Arvio? Read more below!

Image for post

1. Ajda what were your first steps to building Arvio?

Arvio was founded in 2018 and at first, the idea was rather grand: to develop a product that completely automates the mortgage approval process. It seemed like something we could do and I still believe we will get there… eventually. In the meantime, we had to pivot, and pivot again and then endure. We got funding from Slovenia Enterprenurship Found, but most of the development was founded by our savings and bootstrapping. …

Gender Equality Talks with Jasmina Henniova — Investment Manager at 3TS Capital. Read the article below.

Image for post

1. What does gender equality mean for you in the investment world?

I like to think more about gender diversity than gender equality. It is important to me that the investment world (and the world in general) is an inclusive one and that we have a diversity of opinion. This you can only achieve once you include people of all various backgrounds, genders, age groups, etc.

2. What can be done to improve the participation of women in the investor sector in CEE?

I think we need to use an inclusive language in all communication, inclusive talent acquisition practices, and equally or even more importantly also talent retention practice. …

Founder Talks with CEO Tea Vrcic

Tea Vrcic is the founder and CEO of the Roster. She is 26 years old, born in Croatia. She is passionate about 2 things in life: her startup and travelling. Her startup Roster is a software that helps SMEs automate their monthly expense reporting.

What is her story, how did she start the startup, what was the hardest part of building the Roster? Read more below.

Image for post

1. Tea, how did you start with the Roster? What were your first steps?

How I got into the startup world is an interesting story and an unusual one. During my studies, I decided to do a Marketing Internship at Malta Information Technology Agency which was a government agency that incidentally was running a startup accelerator. Before the internship took place, I had little knowledge about startups. That was in 2017. But soon I got so involved with all of the startups in the program that one of them offered me a position in their startup. I joined a startup Shake Bench. We were turning empty places in coffee shops and restaurants into working spots for digital nomads (something like Airbnb but for digital nomads). We applied for funding from Startup Chile and we GOT ACCEPTED. So, I made a risky decision to leave my studies and move to Chile to represent the company in Startup Chile’s acceleration program for female founders. A year later that startup fell apart but I had another idea and decided I want to pursue it. It took me some time until I found the right team and funding. I went to Spain, tried there, didn’t work. Then I moved back to Croatia in 2018 and applied for an Incubation Programme at Algebra University. That’s where I met my current team. In May 2019, the first round of funding arrived from EIT Digital. That helped us get off the ground. Since then, we got funded by Startupbootcamp Amsterdam and Fil Rouge Capital. In total, I have been working on Roster with my current team for 1,5 years and raised 100.000 …

What does Peter Gajdoš, Head of Venture Capital IPM Group think about gender equality in business? Read our newest article below!

Image for post

1. Peter please tell us, what does gender equality mean for you in the investment world?

It means to mean equal access to capital and opportunities for women. Note: I believe the issue is not just women but also minorities (more of a US issue due to a more racially homogenous population in CEE). Bro investments by bro investors from elite schools into bros in elite schools is a real thing, though.

2. What can be done to improve the participation of women in the investor sector in CEE?

For me, there are 4 key things:

  1. More female VC partners and angel investors. If women are not in decision making positions in VC/angel investing (boards, investment committees, etc.), nothing will change. …

We took another interview and for this time with our amazing Paulina (Board Advisor at LUMUS)!

Paulina Szyzdek is an active angel investor and venture capitalist working with Zane Venture Fund as a Scholar in Residence, Female Founded Club, 13 VENTURES, and Clearbanc as a Venture Scout and she is part of our Board of Advisors at LUMUS.

Image for post

1. Why are you an angel investor? What are your pros and cons?

First of all, it’s very different than investing out of the VC fund and gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to the decision-making process.
- Flexibility: you can decide where you want to focus on
- Responsiveness: you can be quick which is very often very important to founders
- Values: you can support the cause that is most important for you.
The business is crucial when it comes to investment decisions, but you can also accelerate the growth of people, region, market that may be overlooked now by institutional entities.
- Match: the founder needs to trust you as a person and see your individual value in opposite to when you are part of the fund and you are under the VC name. The brand, individual investor profile on the market is more and more important nowadays.
- Loses: you can lose money as easy as while investing out of the fund, there is no difference here
- Access: you may not be able to access some deals because you are not known to founders, there are local limitations or regulations. …

What does gender equality mean for Daria Hvizdalova? She is an innovative technology specialist with a focus on process automation. AI evangelist and public speaker, passionate about science communication.

Image for post

Funds and ventures with capable young women should offer more flexibility through the years in which they need that option. It may also be a good idea to invest in mentoring to promote role models. If women continue to drift away from the industry after a point when it becomes difficult to manage multiple life roles, the industry’s reputation as unwelcoming and risky for women will persist, making it difficult to attract the next generation of women.

Thank you Daria for your time and your interesting answer.

We bring another interview with a very inspirational man. Sergio Fernandez de Cordova — Chairman at PVBLIC Foundation & P3 Smart City.

Image for post

What does gender equality mean for you in the investment world?

Gender equality means we need to actually focus on it and stop talking about it. It means we need to build the DNA of new ventures, businesses, and projects where we are balanced and equal from day one. The investment community for way too long has had an old habit of not being inclusive. We need more women to step up and lead the conversation and men need to support that. We will start to see change when the community starts to realize it's not only the right thing to do but can also be good for business.

Thank you Sergio for your time and your interesting answer.

The data show that businesses founded by women ultimately deliver higher median revenue than those founded by men as well as their exit rates are higher, making women-owned companies better investments for financial backers. Female-led businesses are also more likely to provide employment for their female counterparts.

That's the reason why we bring another interview with a very inspirational woman. Lena Hödl — Managing Director and Head of Accelerator Female Founders.

Image for post

1. Lena, please tell us, what does the gender equality mean for you in the investment world?

For me, it simply means that the gender ratio in the investment world represents the gender ratio in our “real world”. Both on the investors and startup side. …

The fact is, that at present, women are seriously under-represented in the investment world. Women own about half of the European wealth but, by various estimates, make up no more than a few percent of angel investors.

For this reason, we decided to make an interview with inspirational women and we asked them what they think about gender equality in the investment world. The first one is Raya Yunakova — VC Investor at LAUNCHub Ventures.

Image for post

1. Raya, please tell us what does the gender equality mean for you in the investment world?

Well, when it comes to equality, I am generally a proponent of the equality of opportunity concept — that is, giving equal chance to people to participate in key business functions.
In investment, in particular, this should mean women would be taken on par with male candidates when applying for investment positions, making investment decisions, raising funds, etc. I believe this is largely the case currently when it comes to attitudes from VC partners and LPs, at least based on my experience. Even more so, I have sometimes seen female candidates being in a more favorable position compared to male candidates because we are somewhat of a rare occurrence and in a field that seeks outliers, I think is different from the norm is working to our advantage. …

Guests: Susan Lyne (Founder & Managing Partner, BBG) and Danielle Lay (Principal, NEA) interviewed by Addie Lerner (Founder & Managing Partner, Avid Ventures).

Image for post
All Raise — Event cover

Throughout the past months, AllRaise has organized frequent zoom conferences on relevant topics for women founders on fundraising in the difficult corona times, managing the sudden changes in business, managing work and household as a working mom, and many more. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store