Auftritt von „Limberry“-Gründerin Sibilla Kawala-Bulas in "Die Höhle der Löwen" - © VOX / Bernd-Michael Maurer

Hamburg-based start-ups rock VOX TV show

How did Limberry, Towell+ and Ankerkraut fare after stints on show? Which lion grabbed the most baits?

The third season of VOX TV’s “The Lion’s Den” for founders is coming to an end and can look back on diverse ideas pitched by at least seven Hamburg-based start-ups and ranging from dirndl fashion, spice mixes to designer towels. These creative start-ups have boosted Hamburg’s image as a haven for founders and a hive of creativity. During the show, first aired on VOX in 2014, founders pitch to potential investors in the hope of attracting an investor or “lion” and their know-how in return for shares in the start-up.

From a delicatessen store to supermarket shelves

Ankerkraut and Limberry became the first start-ups to venture into “The Lion’s Den” this season. Anne and Stefan Lemcke, founders of Ankerkraut from Jesteburg near Hamburg, won over the judges with their spice mixes and have put the investment towards production, machines, logistics, personnel and their online presence. Ankerkraut can now be found in large supermarkets chain and not only in delicatessen stores.

Limberry now producing lederhosen

However, Limberry proved the real star of the first show. Sibilla Kawala-Bulas, founder of Limberry, presented her designer dirndl and costume fashion worn by two models. And two investors Carsten Maschmeyer and Judith Williams offered her EUR 125,000 each for a 20 per cent share of her company. Meanwhile, Kawala-Bulas has added 400 dirndl to her collection bringing it to 500, expanded her offices, hired more staff and is now launching the first Limberry collection for men.

Towell+ now available from Otto, Amazon and over-the-counter

Towell+ founded by Lennart Rieper, Florian Goecke and Paul Dudda proved a big hit this season. Both the pitch, which Frank Thelen praised as “almost perfect”, had been prepared meticulously and their product won over a lion as well. Now, Towell+ is available from Otto, Amazon and over-the-counter.

Kale&Me thriving without investment

But not every start-up managed to lure a “lion” which was the fate of Gesund&Mutter founded by Susi Leyck. Her online shop offers a wide range of balanced food in glass jars for young mothers. However, the jury slammed her high prices and did not go for her bait. The founder of Wizardo, an online shop selling masks for Halloween and carnival, suffered a similar fate. And a deal reached by Judith Williams and Frank Thelen with the founders of SugarShape, a start-up selling lingerie, is believed to have fallen through after the show. Whether the deals reached during the show, which is filmed weeks before going on air, actually come about as negotiated or otherwise is not always publicised. Yet even without an investment, an appearance on “The Lion’s Den” show can be worthwhile, as Annemarie Heyl, founder of Kale&Me, a start-up offering cold-pressed fitness drinks, confirmed to Hamburg News: “The show and after-effects proved a big win for us and we are being inundated with orders at present.” Good viewer ratings during the third season may have contributed to their success as well. The show with market shares averaging 15 per cent is allegedly the most successful so far among the 14-59 age group, according to RTL media group.

Hamburg “lion” stirs up jury

Renowned in German trade as the “king of products, Ralf Dümmel stirred up the show as the latest “lion” on the jury this season. The entrepreneur from Stapelfeld near Hamburg, made six investments and by far the most during the seventh episode, Hamburg Startups reported later. (Seven start-ups had pitched.) Dümmel was responsible for some 17 of 23 deals amounting to a total EUR 2.2 million reached after the show, Grü reported. The next season of “The Lion’s Den” goes on air in 2017, but without Jochen Schweizer as a lion, RTL media group have announced. Hamburg News will have more exciting reports on business ideas from Hamburg.

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