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Start-ups venture into "Die Höhle der Löwen“


Five Hamburg-based entrepreneurs faced investors in den - new episodes next spring

VOX TV’s “Die Höhle der Löwen” (The Lion’s Den) show for founders has secured its prime time, leading market position on Tuesday evenings with an average 14.2 per cent of 14 to 59-year-old viewers and 17.3 per cent of 14 to 49-year-old viewers, who watched the eleven new episodes.

Five Hamburg-based firms take part

Five Hamburg start-ups entered the lion’s den this season and pitched anything from tattoos and private concerts to performance food. Similar to the fifth season, participants from a wide variety of industries took part. The investor Ralf Dummel sealed the most deals and invested around EUR 2 million, according to Gründerszene’s analysis.

Jagua for you
© TVNOW/Bernd-Michael Maurer

Jagua for You as a One-Woman-Show

During the first episode, Janet Carstensen, founder of Jagua for you, won over the lions with a skin gel for temporary tattoos. The colour, extracted from the juice of the South American fruit Genipapo Americanam, lasts up to two weeks and has no side effects, Carstensen, 37, promised. Two investors, Nils Glagau and Judith Williams expressed interest in her product and wanted to join forces and invest EUR 75,000 in return for a 15 per cent share of the company. Eventually only Glagau invested. Williams had earlier said: “We want to encourage women to come much more into the lion’s den and introduce their companies.”

© TVNOW/Bernd-Michael Maurer

Personal pitch – Soummé

Later, Sümmeyya Bach ventured into the den and impressed the jury with her pitch. Bach, 31, suffers from hyperhidrosis and this led to the idea for Soummé, an antiperspirant with substances that reduce sweat by “up to 90 per cent”. Williams, Kofler and Dümmel all offered her deals, but she eventually opted for Dümmel’s investment of EUR 150,000 in return for 20 per cent of her company in north Germany.

Wedoo – from cellar to millions of viewers

Antje Risau, founder of Weedo, developed her first snowsuit collection in the cellar. Orders from all over Europe followed quickly. Risau has received backing from business people in Hamburg for several years and in 2019, she secured an appearance on the ninth episode of the TV show. A tailor by profession, Risau has developed a new generation of snowsuits that can grow thanks to a sewing trick and extra padding to protect joints. Although she is targeting a “niche market”, as Kofler noted, he offered her EUR 100,000 in return for a 30 per cent share of the company, which the 39-year-old Risau accepted.

© TVNOW/Bernd-Michael Maurer

Private concerts and performance food

Miriam Schütt and Marie-Lene Armingeon, the founders of Sofaconcerts also grappled with the lions. The duo’s online platform allows people to book exclusive private concerts in their own homes. So far, the founders have mediated around 5,000 concerts in 19 different countries. During their latest TV stint, Schütt and Armingeon sought an investment of EUR 350,000 in return for a 10 per cent share of their company. “The potential is enormous and virtually infinite because it can be internationalized,” said Kofler. However, the duo rejected an offer in return for a 30 per cent share of their Hamburg-based company and left without a deal.

Philip Brohlburg and Johannes Schröder, both former German Bundeswehr officers, also exited without a deal. Their start-up Ahead specializes in dietary supplements to improve physical performance. Their product consists of the world’s first vegetable omega-3 bar containing marine microalgae, which makes the nutrient suitable for vegetarians. However, Glagau pointed out, “there are lots already”, and declined to invest as the product was not sufficiently innovative. Other investors were put off by the EUR 4 million-company valuation.

Frank Thelen to leave show next year

The popular show will continue next spring, RTL Germany has announced. Frank Thelen will join Williams, Dümmel, Carsten Maschmeyer, Dagmar Wöhrl, Kofler and Glagau as lion for the last time. Thelen, a technology expert, is one of the original lions and said it’s “time to break new ground”. Hamburg News will report on more, Hamburg-based founders that venture into the den in 2020.

Sources and further information:
Overview of deals
Interim balance

Melissa KnausNov. 28, 2019
die höhle der löwen startups