Women in Tech: Xanthe Kueppers of Pilcro
Tell me a bit about yourself and your business. What were you doing before you decided to get into the tech industry?
I am the co-founder of Pilcro, a brand asset management tool with a mission to help companies build sustainable, reputable brands.
Pilcro is a tool to help marketing teams manage their brand assets. A significant amount of time is wasted by people searching for brand assets when making marketing material. Pilcro is a desktop app that gives you instant access to those brand assets that you use most regularly.
Before starting at Pilcro I was working as a corporate lawyer for Herbert Smith Freehills. I started out on a more traditional career path, training to be a solicitor and then working in a law firm. I didn’t really know much about the tech industry so it was a big step change for me. However, I quickly discovered that plenty of skills are transferable whatever industry you choose to work in and for the rest, there are a lot of blogs and books to help you get started!
Getting involved in tech is still a hot topic for women, what was the motivation for you?
I hadn’t given much thought to the concept of ‘women in tech’ before leaving my previous job as I did not consider myself to be technical and, as I said, I did not know that much about the tech industry. I was a bit surprised to discover that there were many of the same issues for women working in tech as in more traditional industries. I think I naively thought that the tech industry, being more modern, would have better gender representation. Even more concerningly in tech-led industries, there is a wider issue that there are simply not enough women that are studying or are trained in tech or engineering roles.
How have you found your journey so far and what has been your greatest accomplishment?
It is always a bit of a rollercoaster starting a startup as the journey can be so uncertain and you are never sure where the road will take you. For me, the greatest accomplishment was to take the leap out of a more traditional career path to try something new and completely different.
What has been the most challenging thing so far?
As a marketing-led business, getting traction and growth has been the most challenging part. There are so many new and exciting products and so much information online, it can be very difficult to get yourself heard and for people to take you seriously in the early days. You have to continue to reach out to people personally, but also learn how to work with social and marketing engines on the internet.
How do you think the evolution of technology will affect our world in 20 years?
I really hope that technology makes further advances in helping us to protect our environment. I think that at the moment we are at the very early stages of development in this area. For example, electric cars, better farming practices and new inventions are starting to make progress in the right direction but are far from being the norm. I hope technology will allow us to protect our environment while continuing to improve people’s quality of life.
What do you say to those who are sceptic about technology and what it may do to our job force?
I think that this is something that we have to watch very carefully. Thus far it seems that technology has created as many jobs as it has replaced but they are not necessarily the same kind of jobs. I think we need to be aware that not everyone can be software engineers so we need to make sure that a tech-led workplace is sufficiently inclusive and that there are still a sufficient variety of jobs in the market.
Who is your target audience?
Pilcro is designed to make the life of marketers and brand ambassadors easier. Pilcro uses a Google login so it’s designed for companies, freelancers and individuals that use Google as their main software suite.
What advice would you give to female entrepreneurs who are getting ready to launch a tech product?
There is a lot of support out there for female entrepreneurs so seek as much advice and help as you can from your network. You can join female-led communities wherever you work which can be a great resource or sounding board if you need additional support. Unfortunately, according to statistics, there is still a lot of discrimination against female entrepreneurs (particularly when it comes to funding) so I think that the only answer is to be aware of that and try not to let it put you off!
What plans do you have for your business in the coming 12 months?
We want to build our loyal user base so that we can continue to grow. Pilcro is completely free to use at the moment while we gather feedback and refine the product. We want to use that feedback to develop the product further and to offer better features.