In the season finale of “Die Höhle der Löwen” Carsten Maschmeyer meets the “toughest negotiator” he has ever seen.
In the season finale of the VOX founder show “Die Höhle der Löwen” (also via TVNow) Founders will have the last chance this year to find a deal with the Lions. Episode eight is all about sustainability and climate protection. However, the products with a meaningful message cannot convince everyone. In the end, a hard-negotiating founder is waiting for Carsten Maschmeyer (61) and Nico Rosberg (35) and a reunion with a former lion.
Richard Birich (29) and Inga Plochow (29) are cousins and founded “Yucona” last year, they want 250,000 euros and offer 20 percent company shares. Extremely calcareous water gave him the idea for the start-up, says Birich. A water filter jug can help, but its plastic filter must be changed every four weeks. The founders have therefore developed the first reusable filter cartridge with a filter bag made of non-woven fabric, which contains, among other things, natural activated carbon from coconut shells, which is supposed to make the water purer.
The company valuation of the company that started eight weeks ago and the sales scaling of the motivated and, according to Maschmeyer, “somewhat too self-confident” founder are set too high, the investor does not want to participate. His colleagues Dagmar Wöhrl (66) and Judith Williams (49) lack the German certificate of a successful filter bag test, they are also out.
Ralf Dümmel (53) knows the business as a developer of a soda maker very well. “What they have developed is absolutely awesome,” he enthuses and even makes Inga Plochow cry. But he doesn’t think much of the company valuation either and wants a better offer from the team. Offer number two: 45 percent for 250,000 euros. Ralf Dümmel thinks the offer is more than fair and approaches the founders: He takes 35 percent, but the 10 percent goes to Plochow, which previously only owned 5 percent of the company.
The taste test tips the scales
The two buddies Jannis Birth (29) and Alexander Wies (30) from Bad Münder live vegan and deal with local superfoods apart from avocado and papaya. For three months they have been making their homemade “Aho.Bio” crackers in their factory. There is great demand for their dried flat bread, which consists of an old type of grain as well as flax seeds and sunflower seeds from Germany and spices. “It’s not just any cool trend, it’s just healthy,” explains Birth. They found their recipe on a trip through Latin America and a two-year stay on a volcanic island. You need 75,000 euros for 15 percent company shares.
Georg Kofler (63) thinks the globetrotters and the concept of local superfoods are exciting, but the “bitter and very dry” cracker cannot score with him in all three flavors. Even Dagmar Wöhrl, Ralf Dümmel, Nils Glagau (44) and Carsten Maschmeyer are not convinced by the taste and therefore cannot invest.
The expert strikes
From vegan superfood to vegan cosmetics: Swantje van Uehm (32) from Berlin founded “Nui Cosmetics”. It is a natural cosmetic line with products such as lipstick in twelve colors. Their developments are dermatologically tested, have a long shelf life and are more “stylish” than other natural cosmetics, explains the founder, who needs 250,000 euros for 20 percent.
“I see zero innovation there, that’s why I’m out,” says Nils Glagau. Georg Kofler doesn’t want to “disturb the women” and keeps out of the deal talk. Ralf Dümmel has been impressed by sales of around one million euros since mid-2017. “Great respect, but I also miss the wow factor,” says the lion. The market is too competitive for Dagmar Wöhrl. The combative founder is hoping for cosmetics expert Judith Williams. The lioness would be on the deal course at 250,000 euros and 40 percent – and van Uehm is striking from a distance.
Eike Meyer (37), driven by his children, was looking for a way to save plastic and live more sustainably. With “Twentyless” he now produces environmentally friendly cleaning concentrates in glass bottles. Substances such as lactic acid, citric acid or sugar surfactants are mixed with water and transferred to the spray bottle provided. He likes the “refreshing pragmatist with inventive spirit”, but he doesn’t have much business with it, so he’s out, explains Kofler. A large market and a lot of competition – Nils Glagau is therefore not ready for any deal.
The unique selling point of the glass bottle does not come across enough and the business must first be built with a lot of work – Nico Rosberg is not ready for it. Dagmar Wöhrl sees the product, unlike Meyer, more in the business customer area, Ralf Dümmel sees the private household as a large market. He is therefore offering 70,000 euros for 25 percent – and can tip the start-up offer (same amount, 15 percent).
Double deal or no deal?
Lars Molter (39), who has a doctorate in shipbuilding, has developed a special connecting element that securely joins metal and fiber composite elements. This primarily relies on reducing material weight, which can lead to a reduction in CO2 consumption in shipbuilding or in the automotive industry. The certification of “Hyconnect” is still missing, 500,000 euros for 12.5 percent company shares would help him, explains Molter.
Dagmar Wöhrl, Ralf Dümmel and Judith Williams see potential, but cannot help Molter in this area. “That’s why I came to ‘Die Höhle der Löwen’, you can use it to fight climate change,” says Rosberg enthusiastically, who has many contacts in the automotive industry with his engineering company. Carsten Maschmeyer is also interested. The two offer the founder a double deal in two installments: 250,000 euros are available immediately, 250,000 euros when the license is on the table. The two lions want 24.9 percent for it. The founder refuses, only wants to give up 15 percent. The investors stay tuned and can close the deal with 17.5 percent for 500,000 euros – “the toughest negotiator I’ve seen so far” gives Maschmeyer a compliment on top.
Reunion with Frank Thelen
They also stand for the fascination of “Die Höhle der Löwen”: In 2016 Stefan (43) and Anna Lemcke (41) fought a tough battle with ex-lion Frank Thelen (45) for a deal. Today her spice company “Ankerkraut” is a big player: Production at four locations, 130 employees, 400 products and sales in the “middle, double-digit million range”.
In this year’s season finale, they report on a new milestone: through a personal stroke of fate they wanted to sell part of the company and after long negotiations have given 19 percent to an investor – who will make them millionaires. The new investment will go towards product improvement, an employee bonus and a school building project in Africa. “Both of them have become real business personalities, that’s the magic for me,” sums up the proud lion father Frank Thelen. And it goes on: interested founders can already apply for the new season.