TV anniversary How can you celebrate 100 episodes of "Die Hohle der Lowen"? SUMMARY? We have tried
You can "Die Hohle der Lowen" (The Lion’s Den) find great, you can find stupid. You can also ignore it. But one thing is certain: The show, in which founders pitch for money for their ideas in front of prominent investors, is already a piece of TV history. For seven years and ten seasons, an audience of millions has been following what interesting, useful, absurd or completely irrelevant products and business models are offered this time around. And whether it comes to the big, emotionally staged, deal or whether the dream of investor money bursts, of course also accompanied by dramatic music.
This Monday, lion broadcaster Vox will air the 100. Episode of the founder show from. More than 500 start-ups have presented themselves in the lion’s den so far, with highly varying degrees of success. Some founders later became millionaires, others went bankrupt or didn’t even make it to registering a company. The youngest founder on the show was just 17, the oldest 83 years old. Some of the start-ups had star power – remember the appearances of handball world champion Johannes Bitter, swimming world record holder Markus Deibler or TV celebrity Giulia Siegel. Others brought real animals – mosquitoes, rats, cats, dogs, horses, even a cow – into the TV studio.
Over the years, opinions have been divided not only about the founders, but also about the quality of the show itself: In 2015, "Die Hohle der Lowen" (The Lion’s Den) was nominated for the Grimme Prize nominated for the Grimme Award, in 2016 it won the German Television Award in the category "Best Factual Entertainment". In contrast, the consumer watchdog Verbraucherzentrale NRW criticized it in 2018 as an advertising show for sometimes overpriced products of questionable quality.
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How it all began
Even fans of the first hour probably have to dig deep in their memory to remember how it all began. On 19. In August 2014, Vox broadcast the very first episode of "Die Hohle der Lowen", a German version of the successful British format "Dragon’s Den" ("Dragon’s Den"). The premiere episode was about car claws, chili sauces, natural cosmetics made from cow’s milk and a heatable anti-mite mattress, among other things – in other words, the same mix of topics from delicious, practical and total nonsense that can still be admired today.
From the first occupants of the lion’s chairs who "invest their own money, as always emphasized in the opening credits, however, not much has remained. Only beauty expert Judith Williams is still part of the original lions. The other investors who got involved in the TV experiment at the start were tech guru Frank Thelen, event entrepreneur Jochen Schweizer, travel veteran Vural oger and entrepreneur Lencke Wischhusen. Wischhusen quit after two seasons to devote herself to her political career with the FDP. oger, who filed for private bankruptcy shortly afterwards, also dropped out after two seasons. For voucher seller Schweizer it was over after three seasons, Thelen lasted until season 7.
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Deal or no deal?
Since the start of the lion show, even viewers with no entrepreneurial background have been amazed to learn the basics of the startup world. They learn what makes a good pitch, which figures are important for a business plan or what a convertible loan should be. After a few episodes of "Lowendrohnung," even ordinary employees without any start-up ambitions can’t get their heads around words like cash flow, working capital or break-even. The show’s merit is that it brings viewers closer not only to products, but also to the world of founders – from down-to-earth tinkerers to dazzlers with fantasies of world conquest.
Criticism of the show first arose when the public discovered that many of the deals struck in front of the TV cameras did not materialize afterwards after all. After all, the founders don’t just win a sum of money like on a game show, but the investors buy into their company. Due diligence is the next expert word in the context: this is the term used to describe the detailed legal and numerical examination of a company before the deal is finalized by a notary public. And that’s what it’s all about.
"Known from ‘The lion’s den’"
In season three, the previously widely unknown Hamburg entrepreneur Ralf Dummel joined the show as an investor. He turned the colorful start-up party into what the "Hohle der Lowen" (Lion’s Den) is today today: a perfectly oiled marketing machine for the start-up’s products. Dummel not only closes more deals than all the other lions put together. Thanks to his excellent contacts in the retail trade, the discount professional ensures that each of his "Hohle der Lowen"-Products immediately after the broadcast of the appearance everywhere to buy is. A concept that other investors are now also using. "Known from ‘Die Hohle der Lowen’" becomes an irresistible marketing label – whether the product is really any good sometimes seems of secondary importance.
Dummel alone has made more than 120 investments in the 80 episodes he’s been on the show – and has brought more than 300 products to market with his Lion investments. Most of the products are inexpensive mainstream household goods that everyone can use in some way or at least enjoys trying out. One of Dummel’s biggest sellers is the Abflussfee, a plug for the bathroom, which has sold 1.8 million copies. Rokitta’s rust scare for the dishwasher even went over the counter five million times – and the marriage proposal of founder Oliver Rokitta in the show made the fusion of kitsch and commerce perfect.
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But not everything Dummel touched turned to gold. His biggest PR failure was his investment in the tampon glove Pinky Gloves, which was so heavily criticized on the Internet that the founders immediately scrapped the product.
Most recently, Ralf Dummel’s lion career had a very special punchline in store. The series dealmaker has himself and his company DS buy products, namely from Social Chain AG of Georg Kofler, who is also a lion on the show. The purchase price for Dummel’s shelf empire: a measly 220 million euros.
Lions and their egos
The lion chair has not only given Ralf Dummel’s resume a remarkable kick. Other investors have also been able to revive their careers or polish their image by participating in the show. Ex-Prosieben boss Kofler, for example, a big media maker at the turn of the millennium and then pretty much disappeared from the scene, is now back as a broad-legged investor. Billionaire Carsten Maschmeyer, lion since season 3, leaves all unpleasant questions about aggrieved AWD investors behind and presents himself in his second life as a mentor for a new generation of young entrepreneurs. Most recently, ex-Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg found a nice follow-up job after ending his career as a racing driver on DHDL.
Often, the alpha lions with their clashing egos provide the highest entertainment value anyway. Legendary above all is how badly Frank Thelen and Jochen Schweizer smelled each other on the set during their three seasons together. In his autobiography, Thelen even accused Schweizer of having his studio chair built higher to satisfy his ego. Schweizer tried again in 2019 with his own job casting show, but it flopped, as did Maschmeyer’s attempt at a new start-up show with him as the sole investor.
Water with scent instead of taste Air up – the Thelen-Dummel start-up that never made it to the "Hohle der Lowen" (Lion’s Den) appeared
The show must go on
So now the lions are being allowed to sell their products for the 100th time. Times in the cage. At the latest since "Die Hohle der Lowen" (The Lion’s Den) was launched With not just one but two seasons a year, the shine has worn off a bit and a certain oversaturation has set in. The ratings no longer reach the peak values of earlier years, when sometimes well over three million viewers tuned in per episode. Currently it’s usually around two million viewers.
But that’s still far too good to give the lions their mercy. The 11. Season is already in the making, as the channel told the star confirmed: In spring 2022 it continues with episode 101.