The long-running founder show “The Lions’ Den” is back with its 15th season. And in episode 1, the lions were definitely willing to invest. However, none of the deals shown on TV on Monday evening have actually come about (so far), as stern’s inquiries with investors revealed. Both Carsten Maschmeyer’s entry into the software startup “Casablanca” and Nils Glagau’s investment in the cell phone holder “Feschd” fell through.

And there is still a problem with Ralf Dümmel’s participation in the sustainability toothpaste “Good Decision”: “The deal is in negotiations and not yet through,” says a spokeswoman for Dümmel’s company DS-Products. The DS Group only bought Dümmel back in November as part of a rescue operation after Georg Kofler’s parent company Social Chain went bankrupt.

Maschmeyer bagged the supposedly biggest deal in the current “The Lions’ Den” episode. The major investor wanted to invest half a million euros in the software start-up Casablanca, which appeared in the start-up show with great ambitions. Casablanca demonstrated software designed to improve the interpersonal quality of video calls around the world. With the help of AI, the program ensures that conversation participants can maintain eye contact – even if they are actually looking at the screen and not directly into the camera. The trick: The application, named after the classic film with Humphrey Bogart (“Look into my eyes, little one”), manipulates the live image so that the eyes look at the other person.

AI expert Carsten Kraus and co-founder Markus Vollmer consider the potential of their development to be enormous. In just one year, sales will rise to 15 million euros, with a profit of 10 million euros before taxes, they explained on the show. In the medium term, the company is expected to become a so-called “unicorn”, i.e. worth one billion euros. While the other lions wondered why tech investors weren’t lining up to see such prospects, Maschmeyer was less skeptical. “I have balls in this case,” Maschmeyer began his offer. “I’m a unicorn builder.”

Maschmeyer only has other ideas when it comes to the financial conditions of the investment: he initially asked for 15 percent of the company shares for 500,000 euros, but the founders only wanted to give up 5 percent. After some haggling, the parties agreed on 7.5 percent with the option of an additional 2.5 percent if Maschmeyer met certain conditions that were still to be negotiated.

But that didn’t happen after the show. During the following “due diligence”, i.e. the detailed examination and binding drafting of the deal, Maschmeyer and Casablanca did not come together. “To our regret, we were unable to pursue the investment process with Casablanca after the broadcast,” the investor told star. “Already during the recording there were intensive discussions about the company’s valuation, which in the due diligence after the broadcast actually turned out to be too high. I wish Carsten and Markus much success with Casablanca.”

Investor Nils Glagau’s deal with the start-up “Feschd”, which has developed a cell phone holder for bicycles, also didn’t have a good star in the show. The founders had actually agreed internally on Glagau as their preferred investor, but then negotiated so clumsily that he didn’t feel valued and backed out. When competitor Lion Dümmel learned that he was only the second choice, he also withdrew his offer.

Glagau was finally persuaded to make a deal – but he canceled it after the show. “Unfortunately, it later became clear that not everyone in the team could put their professional focus on ‘Feschd’,” says Glagau. But it is important “that all founders are equally passionate about the common idea.” Feschd founder Simon Josenhans said they regretted Glagau’s cancellation, but could understand it. “Thanks to the support of family, friends and many loyal customers, we were able to raise the financing even without a deal and are already working on other exciting products related to our Feschd Mount.”

Far from a deal, the beverage start-up “Kukki” was on the show. Their frozen ready-made cocktails certainly earned the recognition of investors. But that didn’t apply to the deal on offer: no one wanted to invest 750,000 euros for 5 percent of a company in the red that was several million euros in debt.

The start-up “Minimo”, whose founders brought their baby Kiano with them as a testimonial, provided the feel-good highlight of the show. During the pitch, the founder couple’s son pounced on his parents’ pancakes in such a good mood that all the investors had grins on their faces. Despite all the cuteness points, there was no deal for the baby food company.

Transparency note: Like the channel Vox, the star belongs to RTL Deutschland