Show or chance? High input, low output? Or a “kickstart” to get started with your own startup? With about 3 million viewers, the founder show “Die Höhle der Löwen” is also very popular with German TV audiences in the fifth season. But does this also apply to the start-ups, whose ideas are competing for the favour of the five investors? Will the “deal” actually be followed by a contract? Or is everything just fake and if anything good for PR? Three startups with relevant experience in the TV format told the story in a “Cave of the Lions Panels” in WERK1.
While in the adjoining room they hacked and genetically engineered at more than 20 other locations throughout the city, Startup Safari participants were able to pick up tips and insights from those who had already successfully faced the lions at this special panel. Also present: Katharina Mayer from the Munich social startup „kuchentratsch“, which sells cakes baked by pensioners to private customers, companies and restaurants and just comes fresh from the cave. Sebastian Niewöhner, who wants to make videos to the new application standard with „talentcube“ and Malte Janduda from the Smarthome-Plugin-Startup „Parce“, a WERK1 Resident. Both were in the Lions’ Cave in 2017. The questions that probably burned on the lips of everyone in the audience were asked by Florian Mann, WORK1 CEO, who moderated the evening.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO IN DIE HÖHLE DER LÖWEN?
For Talentcube the recommendation by another startup was the key to the cave. Parce and kuchentratsch applied in a classic way. The questions of the investors (especially about numbers and scalability) were prepared particularly thoroughly by analysing previous seasons. In addition, shopify was used to prepare the web shop for the expected rush. PR and employees also need to be well prepared.
HOW DID THE PRODUCTION GO?
All three startups were thrown into the cold water and had to prepare and organize themselves for the two-hour recording. There was no help or tips from VOX, contact to the investors was actually only possible during the shooting. No agreements, no script. And no second take! They all had no experience with TV and therefore also some “jitters” before the unfamiliar situation, respectively before the approach in post production. The founders’ concerns: that completely incoherent takes be combined at will, just as it suits the dramaturgy. Tip from Katharina Mayer: Always smile beautifully, keep your face under control, never look sad or disappointed. By the way: a whole 11 months of gap had talentcube between shooting and broadcasting – an eternity for the 2-year-old startup at that time. It’s a good thing that the investor contract was signed directly after the start of production…
WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS? AND WHAT WENT COMPLETELY DIFFERENTLY THAN EXPECTED?
As expected, the focus was on entertainment, the founders summed up. Although the deals at the pitch are negotiated realistically and brutally, as a startup you convince first and foremost by media performance or by a stirring story – and “yes”, the producers of Sony also casteted for optical suitability in advance.
While parce and talentcube had already focused on one or two investors before, kuchentratsch went into the negotiations quite openly. But all three came to a good agreement with “their” suitable investor.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE SHOW?
The expectations of the start-ups were also met in terms of response, albeit to varying degrees. However, they had all tended to expect more immediate rush. The contract negotiations went very well for kuchentratsch and talentcube, both of which had won Carsten Maschmeyer as an investor. Carsten Maschmeyer continues to support them beyond business with valuable tips and a lively investment community. Unfortunately, Parce was unable to reach an agreement with Frank Thelen. However, they were able to make significant progress with their existing investor. Rare damage where no benefit.
WOULD YOU GUYS DO IT AGAIN?
Both Katharina and her male founding colleagues praised the steep learning curve that resulted from participating in the show. All the excitement and all the new experiences offered, besides the financial gain, such an added value that above all cake gossip and talentcube would always be there again. The main reason for Parce not to do this is because of their product. The emotional factor in her Smarthome gadget was simply not enough to promote quotas. The other two also emphasize this: The Lions’ Cave is an ingenious springboard for mass-produced, easily understandable “consumer goods” – in the form of a balanced mixture of show and business. What some television disenchanted “Millenial” wouldn’t necessarily suspect. Katharinas, Sebastian’s and Malte’s conclusion on the participation in the show was correspondingly positive at the panel.
At this point we at WERK1 would like to thank the three of them once again for the exciting and entertaining insight and thus for the support during the Startup Safari in general.