The SugarShape start-up became the latest Hamburg-based firm to get a nod Tuesday (September 13th) from judges on VOX TV’s “The Lion’s Den” show. Founders Sabrina Schönborn, 35 and Laura Gollers, 27, negotiated a deal for a 20 per cent share of their company in return for an investment of EUR 500,000 from Judith Williams and Frank Thelen. A delighted Schönborn said: “This investment will allow us to fulfil our dreams and goals for this year.” However, doubts about whether the deal has actually been sealed have since emerged, as the show was pre-recorded several months ago, but only broadcast in September.
SugarShape’s “Very Important Boobs” box won over the jury and the founders say: “There is no comparable product on the market at present.” The box works based on curated shopping meaning customers fill out an online questionnaire about their favourite lingerie and sizes. Then, fitting experts put together an individual box of lingerie and sets of swimwear which customers can try on at home and return the pieces that do not fit free of charge.
The sisters, who hail from Stelle near Hamburg, went all out on the show and two models showed off the lingerie in the studio, prompting judge Ralf Dümmel, to remark, “Am I glad to be a lion.” Later, the only lioness on the show, Judith Williams, remarked on the “excellent quality” of their product. Williams has her own fashion and cosmetics label. Gollers explained the size system in detail, which did not quite impress the four male judges initially.
No profit so far
Jochen Schweizer became the first judge to drop out, saying, he “did not understand the business”. Asked by businessman Carsten Maschmeyer how they calculate the value of their company, Schönborn said: “We are expecting sales of EUR 2 million for the present year.” And SugarShape expects to have reached their break-even point by late 2016, she added. However, Dümmel pointed out that the company has yet to reach black figures, saying: “The value of the company is far too high”, and announced his departure. Then Thelen and Maschmeyer said they would not be investing, as the product was simply not their field.
EUR 500,000 in return for 20 per cent share
Williams finally remarked: “You have found a market of millions.” Schönborn interjected saying, “It’s 3 billion in Germany and 25 billion in Europe” to Thelen’s amazement and prompting his return to the race. Williams said: “I believe I can do something for you in my business field – provided Thelen comes aboard.” He then offered the sisters an investment of EUR 500,000 in return for a 20 per cent share of the business contrary to their original offer of 10 per cent. But the women quickly accepted the deal saying: “Having both lions aboard is worth gold.”
Deal may have fallen through
However, doubts have since emerged about whether the deal has been sealed as it may have fallen through after the show which was filmed several months ago, according to reports by Gründerszene.
A spokesman for Williams merely said both parties had decided to stand back from the deal. And SugarShape told Gründerszene in an email: “Although the deal reached during the show has not come about like that, we do have ideas for co-operating in future.” An intense exchange about ideas for new products is underway with Williams and the sisters are working on their online strategy with Thelen.
Hamburg News has already reported on several start-ups appearing on the latest season of the show:
“Founders from Hamburg leave “Lion’s Den with a good haul and Towell+ triumphs on VOX TV’s 'The Lion’s Den’”