Romain Duflos, MA (Partner)

Curiosity for new cultures and new people has always been driving Romain’s curriculum. After studies in law and business in France, Germany and Belgium, Romain started working with a portfolio of subsidiaries in Central and Eastern Europe, to support them on financial and organizational issues. He was then assigned to found 2 companies for a large energy group in Austria.

After 8 years in the CEE region, the travel goes on to China where he supported the creation and development of 5 European brands on the Chinese market from 20 employees to 130 after 2 years, and then as an Executive Search consultant, heading a boutique headhunting company to help companies grow and acquire the most suited people for their needs of expertise and higher management positions.

Today working with Heroes to support start-up companies find the right competences, reinforce their management, accelerate their traction, scale to an international level and doing so improving their valuation or chance to get further financing is a very noble and exhilarating challenge. Contributing and being part of the early story of tomorrow’s hopefully most successful companies is a great opportunity to grow and further cultivate his greatest interests in a stimulating environment.

Sofia Surma, BA (HR Associate Consultant)

Even though Sofia is the youngster in the Heroes squad she is not less motivated to catch up with her talented and experienced colleagues. Having studied and worked in Austria, Australia, Belgium and now the UK, Sofia ads on to the diversity of the Heroes team.

Joining the Heroes Team in July 2017 Sofia shows a steep learning curve when it comes to HR activities. Her heart beats for social media and content production. She breathes live into the Speedinvest Heroes Facebook page, passionately filling it graphics, articles and insights into the day-to-day happenings of the startup universe. For her, Speedinvest Heroes not only has opened up a platform for personal growth and development, but has been a real engine for promoting her talents.

Sofia enjoys creative and independent work. She fancies challenges and takes problem solving like a duck to water.

Jennifer Nowotny, MSc. (HR-Consultant)

Working as an HR Consultant, Jennifer has been part of Speedinvest Heroes from the very beginning. Her primary tasks involve supporting startups with recruiting by finding suitable team members and advising them about any process related questions.
Jennifer describes herself as a very open, communicative and curious person who enjoys exploring the unknown and facing any challenges that come with the territory. For this reason, it has always been clear that she wants to work with people to be inspired by their individuality and diversity.

Studying Psychology was the first important step she took towards developing her future in this direction. In her Master’s studies, she focused on work- and organizational Psychology and subsequently entered the field of HR. In order to achieve a holistic picture of HR Management during her studies, Jennifer worked for various national and international companies offering services for Compensation and Benefits, Human Resources Development, Recruiting and Executive Search.

It was in cooperation with Roland Wadl (QMC), one of the managing partners, which finally enabled her to enter the startup world and brought her to Speedinvest Heroes. Setting up this new HR Company has been an incredible experience for Jennifer. From the start, it has been an absolute pleasure for her to be a part of the founding team and build a unique company that focuses exclusively on the needs of startups.

She says: “Working with startups has given me an entirely new perspective. I am inspired daily by the huge amounts of creativity and commitment involved. At Speedinvest Heroes, we want to find the best possible employees so that the startup founders are relieved of this task and can focus on other key aspects of growing their companies.”

As a Psychologist, it is in Jennifer’s nature to want to work with and get to know different people and to recognize and promote their potential.

Speedinvest Heroes is a brand new and exciting chapter. Let the journey begin…

Charlotte Paech, Dipl. -BW (Senior Partner)

Heroes don’t need capes or spider bites. It’s the combination of head, heart and attitude that unleashes super powers. As a Senior Partner, Charlotte has a trained eye for heroes and a gifted ability to transform them into teams as powerful as the Avengers.

Charlotte has a decade of experience in Human Resources (HR). As a fast learner and high achiever, she has supported demanding clients across a wide range of industries and at varying different stages of development. By combining her academic background in HR with a hands-on attitude she has developed a rich set of methods to support start-ups, founders and new team members on a personal level.  Here is how Charlotte can help:

Matching the right people is like solving a puzzle. The edges (skills) need to be appreciated in order for each piece (talent) to fit the gaps (road blocks) in the larger picture (start-ups). During her professional experience Charlotte has found many missing pieces – under the sofa, during stealth mode, in the valley, across the pond, before beta – you name it.

Running a start-up is tough. It takes blood, sweat and luck to get it right. But many teams fail under stress when they don’t treat their start-up as a living organism. Charlotte knows how to $_GET through all the code and business lingo to identify your personal kryptonite.

Charlotte is light-hearted and empathetic; in negotiations determined but fair. She gets excited by the spirit of the teams she mentors and is thankful for the positive change she can achieve with her work. Charlotte loves good food, which is somewhat surprising considering her cooking skills; she’d rather break her fingernails boxing than wrestling in the kitchen.

Roland Wadl, MSc. MAS (Managing Partner)

With twenty-five years of experience in Global Executive Search, Recruiting and Human Resources Management, Roland is driven by a passion for truly understanding what is needed to make organizations successful and prosperous. He believes in the art of finding the best match between talented individuals and companies that share core values such as leadership, diversity and respect. As a seasoned consultant, Roland approaches his work with a holistic perspective, anticipating successful interactions between talented people, organizations and company culture.
Having successfully placed executives in more than thirty countries all over the world, from Europe to The Middle East, to Asia and The USA, Roland has developed a truly international mindset enabling him to quickly adapt to new cultures and use his multifaceted resources to guide clients through challenging processes.
Roland started his career in highly reputed international Executive Search companies. As a fast learner and high achiever, he advanced quickly up the corporate ladder. Disenchanted by stuffy organizations, Roland later decided to join a startup company and support them in their journey of growth and internationalization. It was here that he began to recognize how incompatible traditional recruiting channels are, with the very specific support needs of startup companies.
Ignited by the entrepreneurial spirit around him, Roland cast off his suit, tie – and nearly the shirt off his back – and founded his own company: The Executive Search boutique Qualitas Management Consulting. With an international perspective, sharp focus on finding top talent and expert consultants with strategic prowess and innovative solutions, the firm has been successful ever since.
With a natural ability to differentiate the good from the excellent and an acute radar for sensing a bluff, Roland remains firm but fair in all his dealings. This combined with an ability to listen to and understand a client’s needs, sometimes before they do, makes Roland a strong, empathetic and sought after consultant. It is his advisory approach to assisting clients and candidates alike, which sets him apart.
Roland says “In the corporate world, what you have done in the past is an important indication of where you will go in the future. At Speedinvest we are looking for the heroes of tomorrow, who offer more than just experience. We want to find unique individuals, who are bold enough to go out and shape a new destiny. I’d like to discover who you are, where you want be and why that gets you out of bed in the morning.”
Roland, whose former self always liked the idea of kite-surfing or running around a volleyball court, now accepts that any sporting involvement on his part is a danger to everyone. Instead he prefers strolling through British country gardens or along coastal clifftops. That said, his competitive spirit can be witnessed on the air hockey field where he remains a feared and revered opponent.

Maria Baumgartner, MA (Managing Partner)

Maria’s diverse and successful professional history has one common denominator: a desire to truly get to know people. This curiosity has driven Maria from her early days as a startup founder and young political activist up until today as general manager of Speedinvest Heroes.

“The moment when you connect with another person and challenge her towards a new set of possibilities is what I love the most!”,, says Maria.

This social skillset, practiced over many years in various leadership positions and professional trainings (such as a Master degree in Mediation) is a crucial asset for  Speedinvest Heroes. Building out our network of talents and then quickly matching the potential of a given candidate with the right opportunity in our portfolio, is where Maria excels like no one else.

Maria’s personal working history starts 1992 in the early internet area. As the GM of one of the first big success stories coming out of Austria (Datenwerk/Blue-C), she saw her company grow to an agency group with more than 200 employees across Europe, including an IPO at the “Neue Markt”. Having sold her stake early enough before the bust, Maria continued her entrepreneurial path that included managing a research think tank on Artificial Intelligence (long before the hype), spending time in Silicon Valley and, eventually, helping to found Speedinvest as the first business angel fund in Austria.

With this sort of CV, Maria does not need to believe all the hype we see today around startups. At the same time, she is highly aware of the massive disruption digitalisation brings to our personal and business live.

Heroes is a natural platform for Maria’s skills, combining her appetite to rethink old business sectors such as HR with her focus on the human element in business. Building healthy companies will always be built on finding exceptional talent. And as we all know, this talent is spread thin and wide, so a true commitment to diversity, low entry barriers and continuous education will be a crucial element of any HR strategy.

For Maria, having gone through many diverse roles and businesses, this approach comes natural. as does her positive attitude towards people in general.