We Know Startups: Carina Pöll

Companies in the digital ecosystem have a particular atmosphere and working at one is entirely unlike working anywhere else. We come into contact with a lot of young, burgeoning startups, and well-established companies too. To give job seekers better insights, we thought we’d showcase some of our favorites and share what it’s like to work in Berlin’s Silicon Alley.

A few weeks ago I met up with Carina Pöll, who was hired through Taledo by Getsurance as a Key Account Manager. Getsurance is located in the Umspannwerk Kreuzberg, an enchanting red brick building which once upon a time was a transformer station. Now it houses various offices, full of a bustling buzz, with the Landwehr Canal closeby for breaks on sunny days. Carina was happy to welcome Taledo for a quick look into life at Getsurance. Situated in a digital jungle of a coworking space, the team operates in close proximity to a multitude of local companies, in a district which boasts the highest density of firms accepting bitcoin worldwide.

So, what does Getsurance do?

Carina explained, “We specialize in disability insurance and income protection, offering private life insurance in case you cannot work anymore. We basically ensure your existence is not threatened by a disability.” As a Key Account Manager, Carina calls leads and helps them figure out which insurance they need. She uses Getsurance’s software to compare prices, and assists clients each step of the way to successfully complete their insurance policy. Carina’s job is not as simple as crunching numbers though, she says their service is very individualized and takes quite a long time. “If you want to buy life insurance, I need to know everything about your health within the past 5 years. I spend a lot of time filling out many questionnaires to find out what a client wants and needs, and it is quite intimate in a way.” Intimate is right! Carina has already met up with some of her clients, emphasizing that it is the Getsurance way to be friendly and build a trusting relationship. They want to establish a comfortable and informal connection, and even use Whatsapp for quick communication. “Our clients also connect with me on Facebook and Linkedin,” Carina added.

Carina and Viktor from Getsurance

Carina and Viktor at the Getsurance office

Why did you choose Getsurance?

“The founders here are smart and interesting. They have a good vision; to be the first digital life insurance. So far it has not been possible to offer a whole life insurance online. Since our product has not launched yet, I still deal with the old dusty situation day by day, selling policies and filling out all the necessary paperwork by hand. From the first time I speak to a customer, they will not actually have their policy for another 4 or 5 weeks, which is absolutely horrible in our day and age. Hopefully with our product, someone will be able to get life insurance within 10 minutes. So, it’ll be really cool once our product launches, which should be in May 2017. We will be the first, fully digital life insurance in Germany. Being someone who has to deal with the traditional way every single day, I know our product will be a huge help and make life so much easier for everyone who wants insurance.”

Carina expressed her happiness that Key Account Management has been such a client-facing role. She values the chance to build new relationships everyday and how Getsurance’s product really enhances lives. She also shared her astoundment that in her first job out of uni, she already has vast responsibilities and creative freedom, which she was not expecting. Carina joined Getsurance just a few months ago, while they were still a fresh startup. The only sales employee who existed when she began was an intern. Lacking any experience in sales, Carina could not believe that she was entrusted to contribute her suggestions and transferable skills to build and standardize the sales structures of a company. She is grateful that her bosses created an environment that values everyone’s input, regardless of prior experience or lack thereof.

What do you like most about Getsurance?

“I’ve learned so much about how you build a sales process from nothing. We built our sales processes, CRM system, and sales philosophy. It is really amazing to be so creative even though I just started my career. Usually when you start somewhere you are expected to learn and internalize a process that already exist, but straight out of university I was contributing to the creation of entirely new processes.”

Having fun at the Getsurance office

Work can also be fun at Getsurance

Can you tell us a little bit about your application process and how Taledo facilitated it?

It is a little ironic how Carina ended up in sales at Getsurance. She even said herself,

“I never would have thought about applying to Sales or Getsurance if the Founder had not contacted me directly.” Carina studied International Business in Austria, and did not have any prior experience in sales or insurance. The reason Victor reached out to Carina was actually a bit random; he happened to appreciate an unrelated skill on her resume and contacted her because he was fascinated by it. What was it that made Carina so intriguing? This native-German speaker is also a fluent Korean speaker. Victor has a PhD in linguistics and was intrigued by Carina’s proficiency in the language. Though she probably would have never applied to the position, she is grateful this skill of hers attracted Victor, “I still got the chance to work in a position that will set me up for a very good future. It is teaching me a lot of skills… I never thought I would apply to Getsurance citing Korean as an argument as to why they should hire me.”

How was your experience using Taledo?

It was a dream for Carina to work and live in Berlin, but her main concern was finding a position before moving here. When she found Taledo online, it was a way to save time on the job search and also ensured that only companies in Berlin were viewing her profile. She said, “Taledo was really a gift from the heavens. I had forgotten about it too. Then one day, out of nowhere, I received a message from the COO and Founder”. Victor said they found her CV interesting, and asked if she would consider a role in Key Account Management. The request came at the right time – Carina had an interview the week after, and signed the contract the week after that.  She explained, “When companies approach you, you start from a completely different situation than with a normal application. When companies approach you it puts you more in a position of power since you are able to choose, compared to the normal process where you apply to various positions.”

What makes Getsurance a unique place to work and why should candidates apply to you?

Carina could not say enough positive things about her employer.“I think our founders, Victor and Johannes, are extremely good people to work for. Their response to everything you suggest is always “why not?”, instead of “why?”.” Victor and Johannes are very approachable and are open to the employee’s’ suggestions. As long as they prove they have strong ideas, the founders will give them the opportunity to materialize them. Carina started in January and was already provided a one year personal development plan. The idea behind it is to further her professional growth by moving her into a new department so she will gain new skill sets and remain competitive in the job market.

Carina at work

Carina at work

How do you like Berlin?

Carina is simultaneously living out her dream, residing here in Berlin while working in the startup scene. She contributes Berlin’s allure to its “freaks and geeks”.  “No matter how strange you are, you’re going to find someone as strange as you – whether it’s collecting medieval torture devices or speaking Latin or collecting Finnish postcards, you’re going to find someone who likes the same thing.” Carina did not share how she exactly fits into the subcultural scene here, but it is definitely safe to say that there were no medieval torture devices on the premises of Getsurance (maybe there was a Finnish postcard or two hanging above her desk though). She finished her ode to Berlin by making a huge claim, “Since I moved here, I feel like I don’t have to travel anymore which I guess is the best thing you can say about a city. It sort of satisfies my wanderlust. I don’t actually have to physically leave.”

What is your top tip for job seekers in Berlin?

“Be open to any experience that comes along. I had never thought that I would end up in sales, I just tried it and discovered that I actually have a talent for it that I never knew about and found it through something completely unrelated to it. Just be open to any opportunity that comes along, even if it is not what you thought you would end up doing. Also, even if the first opportunity is not your end goal, just take it for the experience. Everyday in the job market now, I see that experience is the most important asset you can bring to a company. Taledo is great because you never know what a recruiter will be impressed by. I think putting yourself out there and allowing for anyone to judge you is a really great way to bring job seekers and employers together. It is a great way to broadcast individuals’ talents and see to whom it appeals. Take a chance, go out, and try this.”

 

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