"Can't you just say crap so we can clearly say no?" Carsten Maschmeyer begged the eloquent inventor of "Interior Circle". He had to "go for a walk" with his lion colleague Dagmar Wöhrl three times. Three times nothing spoke for a deal. At least from a capitalist point of view.
Because the app, on which used furnishings are traded, is neither innovative nor lucrative. 98 percent of the sales proceeds go to the sellers, the rest is donated. "How do you earn money?" Wöhrl asked in consternation. The answer: advertising. "It scales up," the founder tried with optimism. And that was also urgently needed with a current turnover of 50 euros. Maschmeyer couldn't believe it. "The courage to appear here with 50 euros is awesome." He invested in the interior startup together with Wöhrl. The only condition: the entrepreneur must move from Mönchengladbach to Munich.
The show's second product didn't exactly deserve an innovation award either: spices for fruit. The masterminds behind "Fruping" are two great friends, their headquarters is the communal kitchen. There they experiment with cinnamon, clove and chili. The tasting in the "cave" turned out to be quite a disaster. The lions tasted too much spice - or nothing at all. (Stern also tested the spices. You can read the text here.) The confession of one of the two founders that he became an entrepreneur because he didn't feel like a normal job didn't exactly help to improve the general mood. Maschmeyer didactically: "That's not the best motive for founding a company. And then you also need a really brilliant invention. I don't see that here." But there is still the buddy of all buddies, Ralf Dümmel. He found the story "crazy" that two boys slaughtered their piggy bank - and immediately donated 70,000 euros for a new one.
The business conduct of the television investors was highly erratic in episode 5 of "Lion's Den". The fact that they rejected the child carriers from the "Homb" brand, which are made of recycled nylon but whose complicated strap system inevitably causes nervous breakdowns - was a gift. But where did the exaggerated enthusiasm for the relationship app "Recoupling" come from?
According to the founding trio, the communication tool wants to help couples to take their relationship "to the next level". Snuggle up digitally for six minutes a day, chat and check deeper emotions and longings like his emails. Well, you could probably do it without data tracking, for example over a nice dinner with lots of wine - but the two psychologists and the software developer cleverly sold their program as a preventive measure against relationship burnout. Janna Ensthaler in particular was on fire and positioned herself with the claim "I'm a young lion, but also an old hand". Maschmeyer joined in: "My dream would be to say 'I recouple' after 'I google', 'I uber' in the future." The tech duo competed together against Nils Glagau, who was also interested. "With us you get the lions," Maschmeyer drummed up again, really unpleasantly, "who really understand something about software, B2C scalability and internationalization." When the startup surprisingly chose Glagau, the major investor turned out to be a bad loser: "They're too young, too inexperienced," he hissed at Ensthaler. "They don't even know what they need."
But what does the world need? The umpteenth app for your own navel gazing - or is it rather upholstery foam that is not made of polyurethane and is therefore made of petroleum? A father-son duo presented "Eco-Softfibre", the compostable PU variant that is not burned after use and ends up in the sea as microplastics. The plasticizer of the two consists of waste products from the leather industry. It was learned that so many "leather shavings" are produced here that this amount could easily replace the entire polyurethane production worldwide. And the lions? Just complaining. Company valuation too high, team not complemented, lack of marketing skills. There weren't smart Insta types on the stage here, but two real, nerdy inventors with the potential to save the world. You were denied a deal. That didn't work on cowhide.
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