“The Lion’s Den”: Jürgen Milski is among the founders

This year too, things will be festive in a Christmas special in “The Lions’ Den” on VOX.

“The Lion’s Den”: Jürgen Milski is among the founders

This year too, things will be festive in a Christmas special in “The Lions’ Den” on VOX. But what would Christmas be without Christmas baking? The first founder in the “Lion’s Den” Christmas special is Jessica Schilling (36), a passionate hobby baker. She presents her innovative baking idea: "CuCap", the clever helper for filled muffins.

With entrepreneur Nils Glagau (48) as the energetic "Christmas gnome", the founder demonstrates to the lions how easy her invention is to use: put the dough in the mold, put "CuCaps" with a centering aid on it, and put it in the oven. The silicone cap makes the annoying hollowing out unnecessary.

There's more to her product than sweet pleasure: Jessica, who used to work in marketing, found her way to self-employment through an illness. "I had three hip operations. But just sitting around and doing nothing was just too boring for me. I baked again and looked for something to do." Now she wants to take off internationally with “CuCaps”. She is offering 25 percent of her company shares for 120,000 euros. A pack of 12 “CuCaps” should cost 21.90 euros, the centering aid 29.20 euros. Jessica developed everything herself and has sold 4,000 pieces since 2020.

The lions can try. Financial entrepreneur Carsten Maschmeyer (64) doesn't bite. He likes to snack, but doesn't bake, and he doesn't like the business plan. Nils Glagau also gets out. “I don’t believe in the approach with this very niche product,” he explains. The product is also too small for sales expert Tillman Schulz (34). Family entrepreneur Dagmar Wöhrl (69) also doesn't want to get into Christmas baking. “You need a lot of money to build a brand,” she suspects.

Ralf Dümmel (57) remains. He has already eaten a particularly large muffin with relish. And in his glittering red suit he turns out to be Santa Claus for the founder. "You're solving a problem, I think it's brilliant, I want to do that with you." The department store king offers 120,000 for 30 percent. The founder takes action. She is overjoyed and sheds tears of joy. "A huge Christmas present."

The Christmas baking in the "Lion's Den" is secured, what's missing are the presents. And every year the same question: “What should I give?” Founder Milana Marks presents the solution with “heyfam”. The 28-year-old has developed a smart app that enables data-based gift giving. Profiles of friends and family are created and the algorithm suggests individually curated gifts - from experience vouchers to books to sports equipment.

With one click, gifts can be sent directly from the app. In order to continue growing with "heyfam", Milana needs 150,000 euros and is offering 20 percent for it. The app, which is not yet live, is said to be free, and there is a commission for every gift booked.

Nils Glagau waves away immediately. "I love giving gifts, it makes you think. I think it would be wrong to invest in this platform because I want people to still engage with other people." Tillman Schulz doubts the numbers. "It's a bottomless pit, it's going to be seven figures, I'm out of it." Dagmar Wöhrl also pulls the ripcord. "You fascinate me as a woman, you have that certain something that you want in a founder, but you don't have enough money to achieve your goal." Ralf Dümmel doesn't get in either. "I love the lion's den because of people like you, but I'm not the right investor for you. I'm rooting for you, but I'm out."

But Carsten Maschmeyer snags a Christmas deal. "I'm a tech investor and if Maschi is on your wish list, you have me for 25.1 percent." The founder makes friendship leaps. "My dream lion, my dream deal. It's going to be a blessed Maschi Christmas."

Does anything miss? Atmospheric light and a bit of romance! This is ensured by "Molly Suh" founders Maurice Jedlicka (32) and Amy Peters (27), who compete with a whole children's choir. With their sustainable candles, they put an end to conventional candle wax: their secret recipe is recycled vegetable fats from the catering and hotel industries. In a re- and upcycling process, the fats are cleaned, freed from harmful substances and used as an odorless base wax for the “Molly Suh” candles. The founders offer 15 percent of the company shares for 75,000 euros. The scented candles should cost 22 euros, the tea lights 11 euros.

Nils Glagau is the spoilsport. "I was expecting something innovative, I'm missing a unique selling point, sustainable candles already exist, I'm out." Carsten Maschmeyer agrees: "You have great goals, but you will meet global corporations with a lot of experience, chemists and scientists, you will get tangled up in the market, I'm out." Dagmar Wöhrl doesn't get in either. Tillman Schulz too. For Ralf Dümmel, however, all the candles are burning. "I'm up for you. I think you're cool." He offers 75,000 for 25 percent. Deal. The founders are overjoyed and agree.

Pastries, gifts, candles - now it's time for the feast! The lions chat from the inside out: Carsten Maschmeyer has fondue on Christmas Eve, Nils Glagau has the traditional goose, Dagmar Wöhrl serves sour zipfel and Ralf Dümmel potato salad and sausages. Sausages will probably not be on the table for the next founding team, because Lasse Thiele (27) and Mattis Eckmann (28) are presenting delicious vegan sauces with “Taste Religion”.

In their “religion of taste” they avoid animal products and harmful additives. The range includes six tempting sauces, including vegan gravy and black garlic teriyaki sauce. The food experts invite the lions to a vegan Christmas menu and offer 15 percent of the company shares for 150,000 euros.

The vegan roast isn't that well received by the lions, but the vegan gravy is even more so. The sauces cost 4.99 euros each. “Bad roast, good sauce,” comments Ralf Dümmel. But he doesn't want to get involved because he has already invested in other sauce start-ups. Carsten Maschmeyer is not part of Food. But something is happening with Dagmar Wöhrl, Nils Glagau and Tillman Schulz. The lions whisper and make an offer: 30 percent for 150,000 euros. The founders swallow briefly, but then strike. Deal for “Taste Religion”.

And suddenly Jürgen Milski (60) is on stage, yesterday on "Celebrity Big Brother", today in the "Lion's Den". He brought his best friend Ralf Kosche (60) and an innovative solution for more safety on the ski slopes. The founders want to prevent accidents with their “Gogglestop”, a glasses stopper for ski helmets.

Ski instructor Ralf knows the dangers from 20 years of experience and has developed a sophisticated Velcro fastener that securely attaches the ski goggles to the helmet. Jürgen is convinced: “The glasses will never slip backwards again!” The founders offer the lions 30,000 euros for 15 percent of the company shares.

The two founders come on stage in ski boots. “Oh,” the lions shout when they recognize Jürgen Milski. Everyone can take a closer look at the “Gogglestop” on the helmets. The piece should cost 19.90 euros. “We need a strong lion for sales,” summarizes Jürgen.

Dümmel doesn't need to be told that twice. Without further ado, he stands up and approaches the founding duo. "I think it's great, you're a skier and you've developed a product that provides safety. I'm the right person for you, we'll do it together." Jürgen has tears in his eyes. One of the fastest deals ever seen in the lion's den. “Something like this only happens at Christmas,” comments Maschmeyer and wishes “Merry Christmas, Merry Business”.