As part of our new blog article series titled Women at CDTM, Celine Röder (Class of Spring ’22) had the privilege of interviewing Julia Bösch, a former Centerling from the Class of Spring 2006 and co-founder of Outfittery. In the interview, Julia discusses her journey from the Center for Digital Technology and Management (CDTM) to entrepreneurship, how CDTM influenced her life, and her experiences as a female founder. While her story delves into business, it primarily serves as a testament to the power of ambition, diversity, and seizing opportunities. With a mix of humor and candid insights, Julia shared her experiences, challenges, and valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Julia’s journey at CDTM began with a spark of inspiration when she first encountered the program at an LMU fair for business students. Attracted to CDTM’s energetic environment and diverse cohort of students, she quickly recognized that this was the place where she wanted to nurture her entrepreneurial spirit. When asked, her biggest expectation was to meet like-minded people—people with a drive to effect change and to participate in tight-knit collaborations in smaller groups. But did it play out as she had imagined? Julia has a clear answer to this: “Absolutely. I think the most significant value that CDTM brings is introducing you to incredible people who will hopefully accompany you throughout your lifetime.”
Apart from personal relationships, Julia credits CDTM as one of the main drivers that transformed her dream into a tangible reality and encouraged her to become an entrepreneur. “I really learned that you could solve anything if you have people who are truly dedicated and people from diverse backgrounds,” she stated as one of her greatest takeaways from her time at CDTM.
After completing her university pathway, Julia found herself at a then-unknown startup in Berlin with 40 employees: Zalando. After working for two years in a high-speed environment, with the company rapidly growing to 1,500 employees, she quit her job and co-founded Outfittery with Anna, her co-founder, whom she met at Zalando.
“If you want to become an entrepreneur, I think it’s a great school to join a high-growth startup because it’s all about being close to this massive growth. This kind of thinking changes your mindset as well. I lost any fear of speed or ambition during that time,”
It’s also the advice she’d give aspiring entrepreneurs. She certainly held this close to her heart, launching Outfittery’s service just five months after deciding to start the company. Julia recalls the first year of the company as the most intense and uncertain. She describes being challenged by unknown tasks and having the responsibility for a whole team while still loving the adrenaline that came with every new day. Even though her journey was filled with ups and downs, Julia’s passion and drive were unwavering. She attributes this to what she loves most about being an entrepreneur: working with inspiring people from whom she can learn and the freedom to build what she dreams of.
As this series focuses Women at CDTM, we also asked Julia about her experiences as a female founder. According to the Female Founders Monitor, only 20% of startup founders are female, with female-only teams raising 1% of the total VC volume in Europe. Julia stresses the need for change in the scene is imminent, yet she emphasizes that there are not only disadvantages to being a female entrepreneur: “Because if there are only disadvantages, why would you then decide to do it?” She recalls that she and her co-founder received a lot of attention, which they were able to leverage for traction and negotiations with funds.
The conversation concluded with Julia’s advice to those considering applying to CDTM. Her message was simple:
“Do it. It’s the best thing you can do. I seriously think that. It’s astonishing what this program has done for so many people and what it has created. It’s such a great experience, not only for business but maybe even more to meet amazing people and make amazing friends.”
Julia, thank you very much for the interview! It was exciting to talk to you!