German Startup Breaks Down Cultural Barriers, One Post at a Time - McDermott Will & Emery

German Startup Breaks Down Cultural Barriers, One Post at a Time


In 2020, two young women—Maja Bogojević and Victoria Jeffries—launched an Instagram account (@erklaermirmal) with the goal of fostering inclusion and understanding of marginalized groups within German society. (Loosely translated, “erklär mir mal” means “explain to me.”)

Not long after they began posting colorful graphics and videos paired with short explanations of immigration-, LGBTQ+- and other diversity-related terms, companies took notice and began asking them to host educational inclusivity workshops for employees.

Fast forward three years, and the erklär mir mal team has grown to more than 10 people, hosted a number of workshops, received financial support and attracted more than 75,000 Instagram followers (and counting).


After their initial rapid growth, the erklär mir mal founders sought to expand their platform and create a nonprofit company to continue educating people both online and through in-person workshops. To do so, they needed legal counsel to guide them through the process of launching a startup.


Together with McDermott’s German Tax team, working on a pro bono basis, Renate Prinz counseled Maja and Victoria through the formation process. The team aimed to minimize the founders’ risk and protect their financial interests as they set up their business.


The McDermott team worked closely with the clients to complete the formalities associated with launching a startup, including selecting their business structure, considering operations in the nonprofit sector, drafting the company contract and getting all paperwork in order.

Renate most recently helped Maja and Victoria navigate the German notarization process, which involved getting a certificate of incorporation and articles of association certified by a notary public.


McDermott takes pride in fostering a diverse, inclusive culture and has become a recognized leader in workplace justice, diversity, equity and inclusion (JDEI).

In that spirit, Renate volunteers as a juror for a diversity awards program in Germany, which includes an opportunity to mentor nonprofit organizations. It was there that Renate first connected with the erklär mir mal founders. McDermott’s cross-practice capabilities, combined with Renate’s experience in corporate law, helped Maja and Victoria transform their Instagram account into a growing, thriving and official business.

Learn more about our pro bono work.