Portugal is a perfect place to create businesses for the digital future
Claudia Dietze gave an interview to PC Guia in the section "IT-Girl".
You and your partner Stefan Richter took a big risk in starting your own tech company from scratch. What led you to it?
We didn’t see it as a risk. We still see it as an adventure. We wanted to create the company we had always looked for. A company that is more a community of highly educated, intelligent and ambitious people working in an unconventional way without vanity and politics. People who want to be pioneers and who are ready to conquer the world with us. Our people are passionate about learning and always striving for better. We felt there was a gap in the industry for just that kind of company and we wanted to make that perfect place a reality.
What were the main features that led freiheit.com to its leading position as a software company in Germany and Europe. OR: What makes you different amongst the other competing companies?
We are respected for our high reliability, speed and competence. We combine old traditional values with the startup feel of Silicon Valley: pioneering and unconventional thinking. We have created a company culture that is forward thinking and continues to do things that nobody has done before. And, we do this at a fast pace and with the experience of over 20 years. It is in our DNA to reinvent ourselves over and over again by anticipating changes in the industry and adapting our company and what we do to it. We are not an agency nor an IT consultancy. Agencies have agency processes, consultants have consultancy processes. We are organized and managed like a product organization, like the successful software companies of Silicon Valley.
Last year, freiheit.com opened its first office outside of Germany. What made Lisbon a good choice?
We love the Portuguese culture. It fits very well to our own: honesty, loyalty, reliability. The technical education is very good. In this city, there are more than three very good universities, all are open to cooperating to offer their students practical opportunities. Additionally, Lisbon offers so much with its beauty, its inspiring atmosphere and the great people who welcomed us from the start. Here, we aim for long-term excellence with a team of very highly educated engineers. We have the feeling that Portugal, especially Lisbon, is hungry for change. The educational level is good. Also, in the last decades Portugal made solid investments into infrastructure and education, developing the perfect place to create new companies for the digital age. And, of course, working directly on the Atlantic coast is fantastic, we love the weather here, which is so much better than in Hamburg ;)
How do you think your first year in Lisbon went and what are the plans for the near future?
The answer is as simple as it is clear: Lisbon waited for freiheit.com and freiheit.com waited for Lisbon. The question was whether we could convince the best students from the technical universities to work for us? The answer was and remains yes. We are getting the best engineers with the highest education in Lisbon – they are more than welcome to join our team of excellent and like minded people.
As a woman who co-founded a leading software company in a male dominated industry, what advice would you give those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Don’t think too much! There is no difference. The difference is only in people’s heads because everybody told you so. Jump into the adventure and enjoy every moment of it! If you are authentic, you can’t be wrong. Maybe the reason why freiheit.com as a tech company has such a strong family culture with open communication and one of the nicest offices on earth - is because a woman is leading it. I love to pay attention to details -:)