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

"The Lion's Den" enters next round

Hamburg-based start-ups to pitch during show's latest season- more lions' roars expected

The fourth season of VOX TV’s “The Lion’s Den” show for founders will screen from September 5, 2017. And more Hamburg-based start-ups will be among those pitching their business ideas to the jury or “lions” and millions of viewers. This season’s judges include the newcomer, Dagmar Wöhrl, a member of the German Bundestag and who also has an entrepreneurial background. Then, Wöhrl will join the other “lions” Judith Williams, Carsten Maschmeyer, Frank Thelen and Ralf Dümmel in their search for promising investments. And next spring, Maschmeyer will become a mentor on his own show for start-ups, Sat1 announced Wednesday (July 27, 2017).

Ralf Dümmel on changing lions

During the last TV season, Dümmel completed no less than 23 investments as a lion. Authenticity makes start-ups likeable, he noted: “They must be really passionate about their product. At the same time, there is a risk that they overestimate themselves.” Competition among the potential investors is likely to be even tougher in autumn, Dümmel told Hamburg News, adding: “The lions will roar even louder.” Hailed as the “king of products” with over 4,000 items in nearly every sector and turnover of around EUR 250 million last year, Dümmel is a shareholder in DS Produkt GmbH based in Hamburg-Stapelfeld.

Highlight – appearance by inventors of Towell+

Many Hamburg-based start-ups have secured investments from the lions in the past and reaped rewards from their vast experience. Last year’s highlights included an appearance by Lennart Rieper, Florian Goecke and Paul Dudda, who pitched their Towell+ – a sports towel with a double-layer of material and zippable bag for athletes – and astonished the jury. The start-up’s towel has also won over large online retailers and more fitness products are likely to follow.

Green light for “Miss Limberry”

Sibilla Kawala-Bulas, the founder of the Hamburg-based Limberry start-up, also ventured into “The Lion’s Den” where her elegant dirndl and designer costume fashion met with plenty of praise. Then, Maschmeyer and Williams offered her EUR 125,000 each for a total 20 per cent of the company shares. The investment has allowed Kawala-Bulas to expand her collection, hire new employees and add office space and she is about to launch her first Limberry collection for men. Commenting on the developments, Kawala-Bulas told Hamburg News: “Our new 'Miss Limberry’ label is the project closest to my heart. After my TV appearance, many young women who wanted trendy and affordable designer dirndl approached me. I am living up their wishes with 'Miss Limberry.’”

Kale&Me expanding in Europe

The path to success by appearing on the TV show is by no means a given as Kale&Me discovered. Last year, the founders Annemarie Heyl, David Vinnitski and Konstantin Timm made headlines during a brief stint on show. Although none of the “lions” invested in the company, the experience proved worthwhile. Heyl said: “The programme and the aftermath were a complete success for us and we were inundated with orders. We are producing five times the amounts produced before the 'The Lion’s Den’ show.” Meanwhile the Kale&Me team team has grown to a workforce of 23 and is expanding to Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands after establishing their popular, cold-pressed juices on the German and Austrian markets. All going well, the start-up hopes to eventually expand to France, Belgium and Luxembourg also.

Hamburg popular among start-ups

Seven start-ups made TV appearances during the third season of “The Lion’s Den” and have enhanced the city’s image as a breeding ground for founders. Hamburg News will be reporting on more, promising start-ups this autumn.

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