We’d like to introduce Charlotte Niklahs, our Director of Venture Development. She joined Project A over five years ago as an intern, and she is now in charge of the Venture Development team. Read on to learn more about Charlotte’s journey at Project A, our Venture Development team, and how what started as an internship turned into “one of the coolest jobs in Berlin.”
After finishing her studies in the Netherlands and living and working in Australia, Charlotte joined Project A for a four-month internship. Many interns join Project A for a set period of time during or after their studies. However, this was not the case for Charlotte, who in less than five years went all the way up from intern to a department head, now holding a leadership position that plays a vital role in our operations and ensures the success of our ventures.
Charlotte is a hard-working person who constantly tries to challenge herself and seek more responsibilities. During her time at Project A, her attitude and motivation toward her work have never changed, and she has developed a strong sense of cohesiveness, solidarity, and trust with her team and colleagues.
Even though she never thought she would stay in the company this long, Charlotte assures that over the years she became more convinced of Project A’s work and the reasons behind the team’s success. She has developed a deep connection to Project A’s mission, the quality of work the company delivers, and how valuable the operational team can be for founders. “I can confidently say that I have one of the coolest jobs in Berlin. The variety of topics I cover and the incredibly talented and inspiring people I work with at Project A and our portfolio companies are unmatched.”
What Charlotte loves most about Project A is the environment for growth. “Nothing is handed to you on a silver platter, but you can make anything happen at Project A. You are in the driver's seat for your career development. You are challenged to keep changing and developing. We also bring this attitude to our ventures, and we challenge them to keep changing and growing.” She believes that success can be achieved by those who have the skill of adaptability and are able to adjust to ever-changing circumstances: “We live in a VUCA world. You cannot afford to be stuck in old ways.”
As Director of Venture Development, Charlotte’s daily tasks vary a lot depending on the current needs of our portfolio companies and the ventures she’s in charge of. When asked what her work typically looks like, she stated that her work is divided into three main different focus areas:
Focus area #1: Enable her team and set them up for success.
“I spend about 10-15% of my time on this goal, including individual weekly meetings, team meetings, knowledge-sharing sessions, and career development meetings. When I’m in a recruiting phase, that usually takes an additional 5% of my time.”
Focus area #2: Support Project A’s portfolio companies in identifying and solving operational challenges that allow them to build the basics, find product-market fit, and scale.
“I spend about 25% of my time with the portfolio companies for whom I am the responsible Venture Developer. That includes regular interaction with our founders to understand their operational challenges and most exciting opportunities, and internal alignment to ensure that our support for those is on time, in scope, within budget, and is aligned with our Partners to bridge strategy and operations.”
Focus area 3: Hands-on support to our portfolio companies by alleviating management and taking over interim responsibilities.
“I spend about 50% of my time working operationally with our portfolio companies in an area that is most pressing for them and that matches my skills. In the past, I had the pleasure of being interim Head of Customer Success at Comtravo, interim Teamlead Operations Development at Trade Republic, and interim Chief of Staff at Inwerk.”
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If you want to learn more about Project A, the Venture development team, and the startup industry, join us at our Project A Knowledge Conference on October 7, 2022, at Kulturbraurei, where Charlotte and many other experts from digital operations will share their insights and best practices.