Chef.One-Gründer in DHDL © MG RTL D / Bernd-Michael Maurer

Hamburg's Chef.One in final of "The Lion's Den"

EUR 100,000 in return for a 15 per cent share of company at stake - Hamburg News talks to Philipp Benseler, co-founder of Chef.One

Korean barbecues in Hamm, vegan delights in Ottensen or afternoon teas in Winterhude are just some of the choices available to users of Chef.One dining webpage set up by Erdal Alim, 33, Philipp Benseler, 32, and Dogan Ayhan, 25. Amateur cooks and professionals alike can register as hosts on the homepage or app and post their menus, the prices and the maximum number of guests. Then, guests check out offers in their cities and can reserve a table. Chef.One is already available in many cities and not just in Hamburg.

The trio are set to appear Tuesday (November 21, 2017) on VOX TV’s “The Lion’s Den” and hope to secure an investment of EUR 100,000 in return for a 15 per cent share of their company. The question is: will one of the “lions” invest? Hamburg News spoke to Philipp Benseler, co-founder of Chef.One, in the run up to the start-up show.

Hamburg News: Philipp, how long has Chef.One been in existence?

Philipp Benseler: The idea has been around since 2013, but we only set up the company in 2016. Eddi and I used to share a flat. We invited acquaintances, who did not know each other, to our flat and hired a chef for the evening to test our proof of concept. The reaction was so overpowering that we immediately began developing the app and homepage and set up the company. We quickly went live with a beta version in Hamburg and were able to test the feedback straight away. Based on that, we were able to further develop the platform.

Hamburg News: Pitching on “The Lion’s Den” is a big step. How have you prepared for your appearance?

Philipp Benseler: We were given short-notice and told that we could come to the shoot. Then things began happening. We had to think up a pitch, which we believed would sweep the lions off their feet. We rehearsed the text repeatedly until we knew it off by heart. After all, you only have one opportunity to go into the den and that must be convincing.

Hamburg News: Who are your preferred investors?

Philipp Benseler: As we are offering a digital platform i.e. webpage and an app, Frank Thelen, a technology expert, is of keen interest to us. Judith Williams, a sales professional, could also be extremely helpful to us. Of course, it’s important to have a good webpage. But marketing the webpage is just as important.

Hamburg News: How would you use an investment?

Philipp Benseler: First of all, we want to raise our coverage and to get more people interested in our idea. The money from the investors would be put towards marketing and further developing our webpage. Our focus is on Germany initially. But we want to go international in the long-term as our business model is extremely scalable.

Many thanks for the interview, Philipp!

The founders of Chef.One are pitching on the last episode of this season’s “The Lion’s Den” show. A fifth season of the show is scheduled for 2018. The judges Carsten Maschmeyer, Judith Williams, Frank Thelen, Dagmar Wöhrl and Ralf Dümmel will be taking part in next year’s show as well, Grü reported. Georg Kofler, a guest judge who replaced Judith Williams twice after she had take ill this season, will share a space on the panel of judges with her next year. Applications for the fifth season are already going full speed ahead. Apart from the online application, Hamburg-based start-ups can also take part in an open casting on November 22 in Hamburg’s Mindspace.

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