The “Oil Friends” from the small southern German town of Beuron-Thiergarten are a very special family business. Teenager Paul Belthle is the boss and his cooking oil company is doing so well that he can keep the whole family busy. Mom Yvonne takes care of the office, dad Jürgen takes care of production. Uncle Maik does the purchasing and order acceptance, the other uncle Tobi does the storage and shipping. Even grandma, grandpa and Paul’s little brother Hannes are involved. “But I’m the boss, I run the business and my father can give good advice, but it’s up to me to make the decisions in the end,” explains student Paul in the “Lion’s Den”.

In the founder show, the Belthles were now able to win two prominent colleagues who do not come from the family: investor Dagmar Wöhrl and investor Tillman Schulz. With their authentic and competent appearance, founder Paul – 16 years old at the time of recording – and his father Jürgen convinced the two lions. Wöhrl and Schulz jointly invest 200,000 euros and take over 20 percent of the company shares. The handshake deal shown on TV came about afterwards, as the founders and investors confirmed to stern.

The “Oil Friends” are a start-up for high-quality and regional cooking oils. It all started when Paul was given a small oil mill at the age of 12 to experiment with. But the student’s hobby soon turned into a business. When the parents’ hotel and youth hostel business ran into problems during the corona pandemic, the whole family got involved. Within a very short time, the small family project became an entrepreneurial success. Last year, the oil friends were able to generate sales of 1.4 million euros. The company is aiming for the 2 million mark by 2023.

The products can no longer only be bought in the local farm shop in the Lake Constance region, but also in the online shop and at Rewe or Edeka. The Ölfreunde currently supply around 1,000 stores, primarily in southern Germany, says dad Jürgen Belthle to stern: “Our big wish is that we get into stores across Germany.” The appearance in the “Lion’s Den” and the network of the two investors are likely to bring the company further acquaintances and customers.

There will definitely be a change in 2024: Papa Jürgen Behltle is currently still formally acting as the head of the company. But that should change next summer. Then founder Paul Behltle will come of age and will be formally registered as the head of his family company.

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