Judith Gampe: “Female perspective must be represented”
Have you ever realized what a smart earring would be like? Judith Gampe did! She is the founder and CEO of NOVA, a communication company. Or actually a company in communication products: it developed earrings with an integrated audio system. We want to know more about that!
What does your day look like?
I am the founder and CEO at NOVA. We provide free and natural communication. Our first, worldwide unique products are earrings with an integrated audio system. They consist of speakers, microphones and the latest Bluetooth 5 to connect with your phone. Behind the ear is a button that controls the device. The best part is: The ear canal remains completely free while wearing it. If your phone rings, you can take the call by pushing the button behind your ear. Immediately you can listen and talk. You can also listen to music, podcasts, and all your favorite audio while still staying in touch with your surroundings.
My typical day is very busy. I deal with all topics reaching from defining the company strategy and the next steps, supporting my tech team, investor relation management, HR, legal, etc. In the morning I first prioritize the tasks I want to take care of and check the appointments I have during the day. Then I go to execution. I make sure to stay in touch with my team every day.
When did you know you wanted to be working in IT?
I taught myself how to program when I was 15. Math was my favorite subject in school and I think it is the most beautiful major available. Dealing with logic structures is a lot of fun and I love to figure out solutions to complex problems.
What steps did you take to actually get where you are now?
After completing my diploma in math, I started working for one of the top ten consultancies in Germany. I learned a lot, but after 5 years and finishing my MBA I decided it was time to found my own company. It was a big step and absolutely worth the risk. I really love where I am today.
Are there many women working in your team?
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of women on my team. The reason is simple: We are trying hard, but could not find good fits so far. There are not a lot of female engineers to start with, and to work at NOVA we need very specific qualifications, startup mentality and willingness to take a risky startup job over a safe corporate position. I hope this changes very soon.
We are very proud to have two female business angels among our investors, and I want to encourage all women who have the means to invest in startups. Giving funding means choosing which companies survive, and I believe the female perspective should be represented there as well.
What is the success you are the happiest with?
There are so many successes that brought NOVA and me to the place we are today. Finding the right team, finding investors who believe in us, the product and the business model. Winning five startup prizes, being invited to competitions in London and Paris, the approved patent… so many milestones. The most important one for me was when I actually wore the audio-earrings for the first time. An idea came to life. It is a completely new experience and I recommend it to everybody to try our new directional sound.
What do you like most about your job?
The versatility. Every day has new challenges, and I love solving problems and leading us to the next steps.
And what is the most tricky part?
Founding a company always requires solving chicken and egg problems. For example: Without financing, you can’t hire great engineers, who are needed to make prototypes, which are required to get financing. It usually needs a leap of faith and some smart twists to reach the next step.
Was it difficult for you to be taken seriously and to follow your dreams?
Following your dreams is an easy, two-step process: 1. Figure out what your dream is. 2. Follow it.
Being taken seriously – some people just never will. My experience taught me: Often it is easier to surround yourself with people who do, instead of trying to change the people who don’t.
What advice would you give a girl that wants to be in IT too?
If it is your dream, do it. It is a beautiful area to work in, a lot of fun and one of the few fields you will most likely have a well-payed job 30 years from now.