“For quite incredible 45 years, I have already been active in the business world, and have watched a lot of companies coming and going, saw them “scaled”, as the investor Frank Thelen would say, and saw a lot of money being burnt. I did, however, not anticipate that the turns of my life would put me in the position of repeatedly evaluate numerous young startups while forming my company V.Ö. Travel almost simultaneously.
So, today, I participate as juror in Germany’s edition of the reality show The Lions’ Den (Die Höhle des Löwen) and thus act as potential investor, while simultaneously experiencing the ups and downs of starting yet another company, plus getting valuable insight into Hamburg’s and Germany’s startup world. Reason enough to phrase a few thoughts about it.
Nearly Two Million Viewers
How nice that the second season of Germany’s “Lions Den” started last Tuesday with a Hamburg startup. From the product side, I was fully convinced by the vegan chips made by “Heimatgut”, and I would have loved to have worked with the Hamburg-based company. Still, I do congratulate Jochen Schweizer to have won the deal. In the course of the second season, I surely will be encountering many more opportunities “to bite”.
With great pleasure I notice that the start of the second season has started so well for “The Lions Den”. By mixing creation, entrepreneurship, the good old German inventiveness, and solid entertainment, VOX succeeded meeting the spirit of the times, with 1.9 million viewers enjoying the show.
Courage to Start a Business
Many debates on the broadcasted show, a lot of media attention for the start-up scene. My motivation in the mission consisted precisely of this: to stimulate discussion. To create encouragement for implementing one’s own ideas, to start one’s own projects to start. And to say: don’t be afraid of starting your own business! Until early last year, the startup scene in Germany seemed have made efforts, but left hardly any impact, remaining “pale” due to a poor willingness of banks and institutions to provide risk capital.
Today, I seems to me that we are experiencing a new dynamic, fresh tailwind, and greater attention. And may be “The Lions Den” contributed to it and helped, with our lion bites leaving an impact. Will we be finally able to discuss success and failure more openly than before, when there was still a lot of fear of stigma? This. at least, is my hope.
In any case, Hamburg’s startup seen friendly welcomed my investment team as a newbie. It introduces itself to me pretty much in the same way their city comes along: not too big and not too small, but unpretentious, modest but determined, well-connected, ambitious and hard working! For all those continuing to watch “The Lions Den” (Die Höhle des Löwen) on VOX, I promise they will still be meeting the one or other interesting “Northern Lights” … Stay tuned!
guest article by Vural Öger