Product Person & Tech Startup Advisor leading with empathy
Karla Schönicke is an experienced, award-winning product management professional with 10 years of working experience in the dynamic Berlin startup scene. She has a strong customer focus combined with an agile mindset and advanced technical understanding. Additionally, she's an excellent communicator fluent in English, German and Spanish, and a design thinker focused on building the smallest usable unit that provides new learnings.
Her cross-functional teams appreciate her human-centered approach to leadership and especially value her context-setting skill for improved collaboration. Colleagues and managers alike are impressed by her ability to think on her feet, quickly switch between the macro and micro level of issues, and always provide new inspiration and perspectives. At the same time, she tracks relevant success metrics, deducts action items from usage data, and keeps an eye on the bottom line.
In 2020, just 1% of Venture Capital in the CEE region went to female-led startups and 5% to mixed teams. This means a whopping 94% went to all-male founder teams. Learning about this shocking disbalance, Karla decided that instead of becoming a founder herself, she needed to get to the root of the problem and become an (angel) investor.
She was selected for the investor track in #createF - The Female Founder Show and you can follow her journey on Youtube. In addition, she's part of the female business angel networks evangelistas and encourageventures, while serving as a Deal Scout for Speedinvest VC with a focus on overlooked tech founders in Europe.
Tech Startup Advisor
During her time working in different roles at startups in several stages, Karla gained tremendous insight into both building and also scaling tech companies plus all the challenges that come with that. Consequently, she built a strong network in Germany & Europe and even across the pond, which naturally led her to become a startup scout for an accelerator and a crowd-investing platform.
In her role as a startup advisor, Karla serves as a sparring partner to tech founders for their most pressing issues - be it creating the storyline for the pitch deck, hiring, searching for investors, or validation/prototyping for product-market fit.
You are looking for an experienced operator on your board or to work with you through the pains of scaling? Get in touch!
Karla strongly believes that technology should benefit people and advance us, so we can focus on what makes us human.
Currently, a lack of diversity in tech/founder/investor teams produces non-inclusive products, algorithmic bias, a 4.4 trillion dollar funding gap, and exclusion in the workplace. This is causing further harm to already vulnerable groups in our society (i.e. LGBT+, BIPoC) and inhibiting true innovation, which is unacceptable.
Therefore, Karla is a vocal advocate for diversity, inclusion, equity and justice, at the intersection of the tech industry, VC firms and product development. You will frequently see these subjects covered in her social media.
Moreover, Karla is a passionate community builder and also keen on continuously acquiring new knowledge, growing professionally and personally. She is an adept speaker and enjoys interacting with audiences at conferences, meetups and panels, both nationally and internationally. Check her speaker profile.
With her entrepreneurial spirit, Karla founded and supports many initiatives that #changetheratio, meaning they get more women and minorities into tech, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Here is a selection:
PANDA - Berlin Ambassador for the women leadership network
RAHM - Berlin Ambassador for the global LGBT+ leadership network
Auxilia - Ambassador for a network of 900+ women in product & tech open to co-founder and early-stage startup opportunities
Hackerschool - Teaching kids between 11 and 18 how to code
Women CTO Dinner - Connecting and promoting high-ranking #womenintech
defty - A newsletter for overlooked European founders in tech
plauded - Share personal appreciation and positive feedback online
Female Founder Kit - Everything you need to get started as a first-time female tech founder
As a trailblazer and role model, Karla has published think pieces, given a number of interviews, and received several awards. For media inquiries please use the existing social media channels linked on this page.
Post for Xathon 2021 by Henkel dx Ventures - LinkedIn 2021, de
Product Top Tips - LinkedIn 2021, en
#startupdiversity - da geht noch mehr! - LinkedIn, 2021, de
In her own words, Interview with Henkel dx Ventures - LinkedIn, 2020, en
Winner of #Xathon, the women entrepreneurship hackathon - LinkedIn, 2020, en
Female Founders Program of Accelerator Frankfurt - Blog, 2020, en
Frauen in der Bibel - 2020, de
How to Become a Software Product Manager - slideshare, 2020, en
Mein Büro - Magazin Forum, 2019, de
Interview on Gal Talks Tech - Blog, 2019, en
Fixing the Leaky Pipeline - How to Keep Women in Tech - LinkedIn, 2019, en
Teaching Kids How to Code - LinkedIn, 2019, en
Agiles Arbeiten: „…denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun.“ - herCareer Blog, 2018, de
Ein Date der Kulturen - Der Tagesspiegel, 2018, de
Speed-Date mit dem Islam - taz, 2018, de
Triff einen Moslem! - deutschlandfunk, 2018, de
3 Common Mistakes Made by People New to Product Management - slideshare, 2017, en
Triff einen Muslim - Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2016, de
Innovationspreis des Oberbürgermeisters der Stadt Frankfurt Oder - moz, 2016, de