Guest lioness Sarna Röser and Dagmar Wöhrl made the pickle deal with the founders.Picture: vox.de
The entrepreneur Sarna Röser was a guest on the show for the first time in the current episode of “Die Höhle der Löwen” – and quickly struck a deal. For the first time in the show’s history, there were more female than male investors in the “cave”. The guest lioness was pleased with Prauen’s concentrated power and hit the first pitch. The object of desire: a cucumber sponge. Everything seemed perfect, everyone involved was happy. But it turned out that the case failed!
The entrepreneur seemed extremely happy with the deal with founders Leonie Eißele and Niklas Heinzerling. The two had apparently given the lions a pretty good taste for their durable Le Gurque dish sponge. Despite the proximity of the word “cucumber”, you should not eat it. However, the name is intentional, as their sponge is actually made from a gourd: the loofah cucumber.
Plant instead of plastic: The sponge convinces with its durability
Sustainability is at the top of the founders’ list of priorities. Here’s how founder Heinzerling explains how the sponge is made from the plant:
“After the harvest, we take the fruits from the bush. We peel them, we wash them, we dry them. We then make our final product from the dried fibrous fabric.
Two lions, Ralf Dümmel and Judith Williams, immediately tried the eco-sponge. Williams was initially skeptical: “He’s more of a rough sponge by nature, isn’t he?” The founder then explains that it’s something between the yellow side and the black side of a conventional sponge.
Step by step to the cucumber deal
The two lions made a joint offer – but on completely different terms than the founders originally wanted. In fact, the sponge couple wanted to sell 15% of their business and invest 100,000 euros in return. But Dümmel haggled: “We won’t do it for 20%, we want 40% and it’s brutal, I know it. (…) We would give 150,000 euros to set an example.”
Leonie Eißele and Niklas Heinzerling impressed with their cucumber sponges.Picture: vox.de
Guest lioness Sarna Röser and Dagmar Wöhrl intervened. Wöhrl was euphoric about the sustainable product: “If everyone just takes one small step, then we can all take a big step forward and your product is what takes those steps, with which we make the world a better place.” Röser also wanted the deal and campaigned for himself: “We’re from the same generation, I guess. I’m a young family entrepreneur and I have a strong network with pharmacies and retailers.”
The cucumber sponge, an innovation?
The two lionesses offered much more attractive conditions: 100,000 euros for 20%. The founders therefore chose the lionesses. Sarna was happy with the “concentrated female power” and Carsten Maschmeyer congratulated the guest lioness on her first contract.
These types of sponges are actually not that new. There have been similar products in Asia and other countries for a long time. Nevertheless, the cucumber sponge ended up convincing them, as the lionesses told “Bild”: “It was clear to us that the loofah sponge is not an innovation from Le Gurque. Anyone who has vacationed in Greece or Asian countries knows that these products can be found in every home there – mainly in personal hygiene. Wöhrl was particularly impressed with the idea of the dishwashing sponges and the design. “We also found the approach of replacing the plastic tea towels very inspiring.”
“Made in Germany”? Apparently there was a disagreement about it
But different interests apparently ended the post-show joy. Dagmar Wöhrl posted a “vague” statement with Sarna Röser on Twitter after the show:
“Unfortunately, the deal with Le Gurque didn’t go through. We’re very sad about that because we think Niklas and Leonie’s product is great. After filming, however, we realized we wanted to pursue different strategies. We wish them all the best!”
Unfortunately, the deal came with me #LEGURQUE lack. We are very sad about this because we think Niklas and Leonie’s product is great. After filming, however, we realized we wanted to pursue different strategies. We wish them the best! #DHDL pic.twitter.com/rwlx9wnlGk
— Dagmar Wohrl (@DWoehrl) April 25, 2022
Dagmar Wöhrl and Sarna Röser gave the reasons for this to “Bild”. “The decisive point was that we could not agree on a production site. The founders wanted to produce in Germany, which is fundamentally desirable.”
However, the lionesses saw the danger of not being able to produce the masses needed to eventually banish the plastic sponge from households. And further: “Of course, ideally Made in Germany should be sought after, but ultimately the cost-benefit factor must also be taken into account. We were in contact with a production plant that would have produced sustainably and profitably and would not have had long supply chains. The founders rejected that.
“LOL: Last One Laughing” has been one of the most popular comedy formats in Germany in recent years and is currently in its third season. The principle of the show is easily explained: ten celebrities – mostly comedians – are locked in a room for six hours and are not allowed to laugh during this time. In order to spice up the format, they attempt to eliminate their opponents by making them laugh with various interludes.