Bringing technology to one of the least digitized industries in the world? You’d better have a strong voice communicating your offer and raising awareness. That’s precisely what this inspirational woman is doing for the world of construction.
Johanna wanted to make a difference, plain and simple. While working at publications like Harper’s Bazaar in NY, she realized her days were spent doing something with minimal impact. So, she leapt into the SaaS field—and she’s never looked back.
Can you please introduce yourself, your position and the company you work for?
Nice to meet you! My name is Johanna, I am a communications expert with a great passion for innovations that shape our future. That is why I decided to join Capmo almost one and a half years ago as Content & Communications Manager.
At Capmo, we are developing a SaaS product that enables construction companies to build in a time-, cost- and resource-efficient manner. Our cloud-based solution allows users to digitally capture, control and coordinate all processes on a construction site as well as in the office. It enables smooth collaboration in real time and provides data-based recommendations.
Since the construction industry is one of the least digitized industries internationally, there is a lot of educational work to do. That’s where I come in. By creating the right content for the right audiences and promoting it through the right channels, we create awareness for the benefits of digital processes.
What inspired or led you to enter the SaaS field/tech startup world?
Simple: I wanted to make a difference. Some industries already benefit a lot from digitization; others still lack heavily. SaaS solutions are a sustainable, successful way to close this gap by enriching less-developed industries with technological innovations. Thus, it is a field where you can really make a difference in the lives of many people; you can influence entire industries and their impact on society and the world.
Did you study technology? Do you feel it’s important to have a tech education in order to get a job in a tech startup?
Do you need a tech education to work in a tech startup? Generally speaking, definitely not! But obviously, it depends on the department in which you want to work. Neither my colleagues in the marketing team nor I have a technological background. For me, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Before joining Capmo, I had a very strict lifestyle focus. I worked at fashion magazines like Elle and Harper’s Bazar in New York, at food startups and lifestyle magazines. Even though I am still passionate about these topics privately, I asked myself at one point: Do you really make a difference if you spend your time presenting the latest beauty trends? My answer was, No. Hence I began looking for an opportunity where I could have an impact.
What was the biggest challenge for you when entering the tech field and how did you manage to overcome it?
One thing I still work to remember daily is that small changes from my perspective might be big changes from a tech perspective.
As Content & Comms Manager, I am always looking for the best stories to share. A new vertical or a new product element definitely count as such. An improvement, however, is not newsworthy—even though it can be a game-changer from a tech perspective.
Secondly, I needed to get used to flexible planning. When drafting a marketing strategy, you commit yourself to deadlines. If you don’t meet them, you need to explain yourself. Product teams work differently: If an issue occurs and it is rated as a higher priority, plans change. For us, that means: Adopt a lean way of working and always be prepared for change.
Thinking back to your journey and how you arrived at where you are today, is there anything you’d change if you could?
From the very beginning at Capmo, I’ve been in the fortunate position of having the chance to frequently speak to our customers—the people who actually use our product. This has had a massive impact on my understanding of the way our product is used and the impact we have. Additionally, these interviews have helped me grasp the level of technological insights we have to provide to ensure that our customers understand our product, without confusing or overwhelming them.
One thing I would do differently is to engage more with the product from the beginning on. Describing a function in a piece of content and engaging with the product itself are two different worlds. If I had figured that out in the beginning, we would have definitely saved one or two correction loops.
What piece of advice would you give to your freshman self?
Get out there and talk to the people who benefit from your product. As I already described above, this step is a major booster for mastering the jump from a theoretical technological perspective to a real-life view. And that’s true for all departments. This is why, at Capmo, we make sure that all of our new joiners visit a construction site in their first weeks to see our product in action.
Have you come across any hurdles that stem from gender inequality? Were you able to overcome them?
I have not, and I’m not worried I will in the future. At Capmo, we have seven working principles. Those principles are not just written sentences, but values that are lived. Everyone is asked to question actions that violate our principles—and male dominance would be such an action. So as long as we keep our working principles in mind, there is no room for male dominance or male-dominated hierarchies.
Only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice. Why do you believe working in a tech startup or SaaS is a good career path?
As many startups are proving at the moment, SaaS products are the go-to solution that helps laidback industries benefit from digitization. Even though we’ve already had the chance to follow many success stories, so many industries still remain untouched. The potential is enormous, as is the impact.
So, for anyone who wants to make a difference, SaaS is definitely a good career path—whether you have a technological background or not.
Do you see a lack of female presence at your startup? If so, how do you think this could be changed?
While we are striving towards gender balance team-wise, I do see a lack of female presence in the management team. We have four male founders, and the majority of our team leads are male. Nevertheless, we do have a tight hiring roadmap that includes management roles, so I am convinced we will improve on this front.
What do you see as the added value of having more female teammates at a tech company?
Regardless of the industry, company type or company size, it’s been proven that diverse teams are more successful. So, tech company or not, I am convinced that teams always benefit from a greater variety of perspectives—in terms of age, gender, background and culture.
What would you recommend to women who would like to enter the tech field?
Talk to other women who’ve already made that step and can tell you about their experience! I started a mentorship program last year where I have access to a network of many women working in tech. Sharing obstacles, success stories and coping strategies is inspiring and reassuring. It is great to hear that others have the same worries or issues that you’re facing, and their experiences may help you.
I am also a part of a few women networks, like GWPR or GDW—which are another precious source of inspiration for me.
People working in startups are usually very busy. How do you manage your work-life balance? Do you have time for some side/passion projects?
As I am working in a creative department, I’m always on the hunt for new inspiration. Hence, I try to take at least 30 minutes of creative breaks daily. Additionally, I block my Saturday mornings for side projects—specifically daily food and restaurant reviews.
My secret weapon is my early bird habit. As I squeeze in a lot of to-dos daily, I start my day very early. This is how I make sure to get things done without stressing out.
Women in SaaS initiative
Did you know that only 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice and only 5% of leadership positions in technology are held by a woman? With our initiative - Women in SaaS interviews, we want to inspire more women to join SaaS field & technology and combat prejudges connected to technology.