Hanseatic start-ups seal deals in latest season of “The Lion’s Den”

Hamburg's young entrepreneurs in three of six episodes - Nico Rosberg succeeds Frank Thelen
23 April 2020
DHDL-Jury der 7. Staffel

More than two million viewers tuned into the final episode of VOX TV’s “The Lion’s Den” show for founders on Tuesday (April 21, 2020) when Johannes Bitter and Christian Monzel from the Hamburg Metropolitan Region secured a double deal after pitching their Drinkbetter food supplement to the “lions”. Brave young entrepreneurs from Hamburg had featured in previous episodes of the show. Hamburg News reviews the latest season and gives a glimpse of upcoming episodes next season.

Hamburg represented in three episodes 

The Hamburg start-up scene was well represented this season with Hanseatic founders in three of six episodes who presented four business ideas. Two led to deals and a third forged close co-operation although no money was involved.

© TVNOW/Bernd-Michael Maurer

Sportsmen turned entrepreneurs

Johannes Bitter, a professional handball player, and Christian Monzel, a former hockey player and joint trainer of the National Hockey League (1) from Tangstedt near Hamburg, brought their Drinkbetter food supplement into the lion’s den. Special technology lets plant substances that are difficult to dissolve in water into the bloodstream. Investor Ralf Dümmel conferred with judge Carsten Maschmeyer before reaching a decision. Yet, the pitch had already won over Maschmeyer, who quipped: “No matter what you need in working capital, that’s what you’ll get.” Both “lions” offered EUR 300,000 in return for a 30 per cent share of the company. The “lioness” Dagmar Wöhrl then entered the fray and offered the duo the requested EUR 200,000 in return for a 20 per cent share of Drinkbetter. However, the athletes turned entrepreneurs opted for the double deal and gained twice as much expertise for their market launch.

Flexylot conquering walls

Two Hanseatic founders had earlier won over the “lions” during the second episode. Alexander Schophoff, a manager of an art gallery in Hamburg, knows how tricky hanging up pictures can be and had presented Flexylot. The small piece of metal may yet transform picture hanging, he said. Dümmel was baited and offered EUR 125,000 in return for a 30 per cent share of the company and sealed the deal. In an interview with Hamburg Startups, Schophoff spoke of an “eye level partnership” with Ralf Dümmel and the DS Produkte team.

Yab Fitness makes “lions” sweat

Then, Christian Polenz, founder of Yab Fitness, entered the ring to present training weights. Their grip and shape gives users different options and prods for training. The “lions” Georg Kofler and Nils Glagau tried out the weights on camera and made their offers. At first, Kofler got the nod after offering EUR 200,000 in return for a 25 per cent share of the company. However, the tide turned and money did not flow, but Kofler agreed to come on board as a co-operating partner” to promote sales and marketing, according to the start-up.

Yab Fitness-Hanteln
© TVNOW/Bernd-Michael Maurer
Yab Fitness training weights


Gisbert Wundram and Bendix Eisermann then ventured into the den with their sports app called Commentaro, which can turn anyone into a sports commentator, they touted. The app features all kinds of sports clips for commenting on and sharing. Wundram and Eisermann, who have been running the digital pay-tv channel Sport since 2010, requested EUR 250,000 to develop their product and scale it internationally in return for a 25 per cent share of their company. However, the lions rejected the idea, which they termed “unconvincing”.

© TVNOW/Bernd-Michael Maurer

Spotlight on sustainable ideas next season

The next season of “The Lion’s Den” will go on air in autumn 2020. After shooting was suspended in March due to the corona crisis, VOX TV announced in mid-April that production had resumed. Newcomer Nico Rosberg, successor to Frank Thelen, will complete the pack of investors with Judith Williams, Maschmeyer, Dümmel, Wöhrl, Kofler and Glagau. The former Formula One World Champion racing driver is eager to “turn sustainable ideas into success stories”. Hamburg News will report on brave Hanseatic founders that venture into the lions’ den with their bright ideas.