Interview #FFM20
with Lisa Gradow

Founder and CMO at Usercentrics

FFM-Team: Can you describe briefly how you decided to found a company?


Lisa: I actually founded my first company at the age of 17 – rather intuitively and without really knowing what I was doing. I had the idea of selling T-shirts with political statements via an online shop during an election campaign. After that, people came up to me and told me I was a founder. And then, when I was a student, I did it again and again, always trying out different things. During this time I taught myself a lot and also took computer science courses at university. This was very time-consuming alongside my law course, and very abstract for me at first. But it was interesting to see how many lines of code are behind a button or a whole application. I never became a passionate coder, but my basic understanding of programming helps me to pigeonhole our product, the tech team and the added value, as well as to explain it to customers and investors, and to appreciate it.

FFM-Team: How has your company developed and what exactly do you do at Usercentrics?


Lisa: Our idea was to help companies to make consent management on their websites practicable after the introduction of the new GDPR. The big advantage of our software solution is that it is very flexible and can look different on every website. The market for consent management platforms is generally still very young and it is very exciting being a first mover here. Usercentrics has been around for two years now and we have grown a lot, especially in the last few months. Currently we have 45 employees and two successful financing rounds behind us – we are now preparing the third one. In addition, we are beginning our market launch in the USA, as new legislation came into force there at the beginning of the year.

FFM-Team: If we take a step back, it is striking that the proportion of female founders is still only 16% and in SaaS even smaller. Why do you think this is?


Lisa: One important point certainly is that women often simply lack the confidence
to do it. What is needed here are more role models and an environment that empowers women.


For many people founding a company is fairly abstract at first and only becomes tangible through experience. And particularly when it comes to SaaS, women may simply lack the points of contact: You don’t even know that this world exists. After all, it is not taught at universities. We need more education and awareness – and definitely more networking.

FFM-Team: And finally:
What tips would you give to other female entrepreneurs?


Lisa: It’s very important for female founders to know exactly where they want to go and to communicate this clearly to the outside world. And of course, the employees are also
extremely important for long-term success. This means, as a first step thinking very carefully about who you are hiring and then, making sure that everyone is 100% involved in the daily work routine and that communication is very clear. And as a founder you should also be grateful that these people are going on this journey with you. We think it’s really important that everyone in the team is happy. That’s why we installed a Chief Happiness Officer from the outset who offers coaching and also organizes other things like yoga or healthy cooking. It’s tremendously important to make sure employees stay with you on a long-term basis – not only for the atmosphere, but also for productivity. And ideally, you should structure the company so that the day-to-day business works well even without you.