Women in Tech: Sophie Knowles

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Women in Tech: Sophie Knowles

 

 

Hi Sophie, tell me a little bit about yourself and PDF Pro.

I’m a British software engineer working for a technology company. I’m the founder of PDF Pro , an online PDF editing service. I started it as a side business because I couldn’t find a website with a range of useful PDF editing tools. Now the website has around 180,000 users a month, all getting their PDF work done! I hope to be able to leave my day job and work full-time on PDF Pro very soon.

 

What were you doing before you decided to create PDF Pro?

Before PDF Pro, I was working as a software engineer and itching to start my own business. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I also wanted to wait until I had a great idea. When I was struggling to get my PDF work done online, I knew I had found “the idea”!

 

Getting involved in Tech is still a new thing for women, what was the motivation for you?

Actually women have always been a part of the technology industry, starting with Ada Lovelace who was technically the first computer programmer! Saying that, the industry is obviously male-dominated right now and I am happy to be a small part of changing the demographic.

 

How have you found your journey so far and what has been your greatest accomplishment?

The journey has been quite rocky! Mostly because it has been a lot of hard work and I had to give up a lot of my social life to start the business. I had to use my free time to build the software so it was a big time investment. My greatest accomplishment has probably been helping our customers get their work done. There are plenty of users who use the site every working day, which makes me very proud.

 

What has been the most challenging thing so far?

The most challenging part was growing our traffic. To be recognised by Google as a useful website takes a lot of time! You have to be patient and allow your website to grow.

 

Do you think more women should get involved in Tech and why?

Yes of course, I don’t think there is any reason why men should dominate the tech industry. I truly believe that women can code just as well as men. Further to this, I really think that women (and men!) should take the risk and try entrepreneurship. Success as an entrepreneur is all down to talent, gender doesn’t really come into it. PDF Pro users have no idea that the site was founded by a woman!

 

What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs who are stuck on an idea?

Don’t start a business unless you really believe in an idea! Try to use the skills and knowledge you have from your current job or interests to form your idea. There are plenty of ideas out there if you keep an open mind.

 

What does it mean to be a female tech entrepreneur?

As I mentioned before, being an entrepreneur is great because there is barely any gender bias. Therefore female entrepreneurs shouldn’t focus on being a “woman in tech”, but rather on being a successful entrepreneur. I love the independence of running my own business and the flexibility it offers.

 

Overview of how PDF Pro works:

PDF Pro aims to solve all your PDF editing needs. Users upload their PDF files and use a range of features to edit them. Users can erase and add text to a PDF, rotate pages, delete pages, merge PDFs, convert PDF to Word, and much more!

We offer 3 free file downloads per month so that users can test out our site. Then we offer monthly or annual subscriptions for unlimited use of all our features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Women in Tech: Isabelle Ohnemus

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Women in Tech: Isabelle Ohnemus

 

 

 

Hi Isabelle, so who is the lady behind EyeFitU?

I’m Isabelle Ohnemus; Founder and CEO of fashion-sizing platform EyeFitU.

Currently based in Zurich with my family, I am pursuing my passion for fashion and technology through the creation and ongoing development of EyeFitU. I’m fluent in six different languages - which is very useful since I’m travelling internationally several times a year with EyeFitU!

 

What were you doing before you decided to create EyeFitU?

I worked in investment banking! Before EyeFitU was born, I was a broker for over ten years in one of the largest global investment banks. In addition to that I was Chairwoman and VP Committee Member of Swiss Red Cross for seven years;  an Advisory Board Member at LA Dansk for sixteen years; a member of Creative Women’s Circle Switzerland; and, Executive board of the FDP Frauen Kanton Zürich and Executive Board of the FDP Bezirk Meilen for more than ten years. It all sounds completely different to what I’m doing now, and yet, my background gave me the solid foundation to move into the world of FashTech.

 

Getting involved in Tech is still a new thing for women, what was the motivation for you?

Whilst I have always had a huge love for fashion, I was also becoming increasingly frustrated and impatient with the inconsistency in fashion sizing. I wanted and needed to do something about it and this ultimately led me into Tech.

 

How have you found your journey so far and what has been your greatest accomplishment?

The company was founded in 2013 and I am very happy to be able to solve a big consumer pain by allowing shoppers to access some of the greatest brands in the world on one platform in their size according to their body measurements.

 

What has been the most challenging thing so far?

Everything we have done did not exist before; therefore challenges are an integral part of the process, from integration to testing to automation to re-testing - we’re constantly developing. 

Through the use of smart technology EyeFitU aims to change the face of online shoppingby inspiring a personalised shopping experience for the users.

 

 

Do you think more women should get involved in Tech and why?

Absolutely! Like most things in life, Tech is by no means gender exclusive. I have been fortunate enough to have met many women (and men) who are incredibly talented and passionate about technology. Just because it is currently known as being a male-dominated industry shouldn’t faze women; it should drive them.

 

What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs who are stuck on an idea?

Nurture and pursue your idea. If you’re ‘stuck’ on it I’d say you are already in too deep to let it slide anyway. Be passionate, never stop learning and being curious; knowledge is power.

 

What does it mean to be a female tech entrepreneur?

I feel fortunate enough to have been able to pair my love for fashion with technology to create something that is ground-breaking; EyeFitU can positively change the face of shopping for both the customer and the fashion industry.

 

Overview of how EyeFitU works:

The EyeFitU platform allows users - male and female - to create a personal sizing profile which filters through online shopping results to find the perfect personal fit. Use it online to shop in your size through hundreds of brands! You can also use it in store selecting items to take into the fitting room.

 

How to find EyeFitU:

 

Website

On iTunes

On Google Play