All Eyes on Alexandra

Alexandra Deichsel
Data and Analytics

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Why did you join Project A?
Someone (loyal readers of the “All eyes on” series know who I’m referring to) pitched Project A to me as a company with an amazing company culture. That someone described the company as a perfect mix of hands-on working mentality in combination with family friendly rules, while offering more stability than an early stage startup. I can definitely confirm that all these expectations were fully met.

But what I especially like about Project A is, that it offers the opportunity to gain a lot of insights from companies of different business models at different stages.

How come you switched from working in the research field to a venture capital?
Frankly, switching from working hard with hardly any reward to working hard and finally earning some money was not a difficult decision.

After finishing my PhD in Molecular Genetics, I knew that I did not want to stay in academia. I always loved conducting experiments and analysing results, but somehow I did not find the one research topic that I was willing to dedicate my life to. My passion for analysing genes in flies, worms and glowing cells just did not make up for the permanent insecurity of not knowing when finally being granted a permanent position and having to deal with the broken scientific publishing business.

My transition from academia to the startup scene was joining Researchgate as a Product Analyst. Now, at Project A, I enjoy the variety of topics I can work on for the different portfolio companies and being able to transfer the knowledge we gained.

How does the work as a Business Intelligence Manager at Project A look like?
We are data generalists. We support our portfolio companies with a broad spectrum of data related tasks, that range from defining the right KPIs to answer business questions, setting up web tracking to ad hoc data analyses, specifying data pipelines to reporting and dashboarding. Depending on the specific project our role can be pretty versatile, varying between product manager, project manager or data analyst. In addition we are also involved in recruiting and onboarding data teams. It never gets boring.

What’s unique about the Business Intelligence Team at Project A?
Closely working with the data engineering team, we have different backgrounds, but share a common goal: helping companies and other teams at Project A make better decisions based on data.

Our approach is pragmatic and hands-on. Implementing fancy machine learning models for the sake of doing machine learning is not our thing. We strongly focus on the business value, that our data warehouse or data science solutions create and also care about onboarding the actual users on how to work with them.

What was the most exciting project at Project A so far?
Working with Misterb&b was fun. Misterb&b is a 2-sided marketplace for short term accomodations for the LGBTQ community. I helped them with improving their onsite search algorithm and setting up A/B tests. Since they are based in Paris and L.A., having the opportunity to travel to these amazing cities was surely a nice benefit.

What is your favorite Project A value?
Knowledge Sharing. When I was a researcher, I attended scientific conferences, where nobody dared to present new findings that had not been published yet. A lot of scientific researchers experience a constant paranoia of being afraid that their competitors would steal their ideas and publish before them.

At Project A I’m happy that it’s the complete opposite. We actively share knowledge on a regular basis within the company and also with our portfolio companies (e.g. at the Project A Knowledge Conference). For example, we recently open sourced our data warehouse framework Mara because we know how valuable the input of the community is.

Sharing negative results and learning from mistakes is so essential to move forward, it’s a pity that academic science struggles with this.

What is a secret nobody knows about you so far?
After finishing school and before starting university I worked as an extra for some TV productions. Fans of the German soap “Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten” might have seen my incredible performance of eating a donut, wearing a pink dress in the background, while some guy was arrested by the police because he had an enormous debt of 100 DM.

Looking for a job in an international team & an inspiring startup environment? Take your chance: Join Project A or our exciting portfolio companies.

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