FreeMOM: Haggling over shares steals the stage from the groundbreaking concept #DHDL

The second episode of the 14th season of "Die Höhle der Löwen" also had a lot to offer. For example, FreeMOM was presented as a concept that not only questions fundamental structures in the labour market, but could also change them permanently. But the disruptive character of the model is unfortunately completely lost.


The pitch of the former HR professionals and mothers Anika and Lena is initially very forceful – and incidentally a good example of incorporating small effects into the presentation. The lions were given envelopes containing various facts, which they are now supposed to open one after the other, read out and hang on a pinboard. The founders then comment a little on these facts during the process. This gets things moving in the pitch, but the danger of something “getting out of hand” or going completely wrong is very low, as everything still has a very firm framework.

At the same time, the rather dry facts and figures are easier for the audience to digest and are better remembered – a trick that might be worth keeping in mind for the next pitch competition.

In any case, the facts in the pitch of “FreeMOM” are quite something and are more than worth remembering: Women are at a disadvantage at work and in the labour market simply by having a child, and an overwhelming majority work less than they would actually like to. If this were remedied, overnight we would suddenly have around 840,000 more workers who are urgently needed. Because jobs that cannot be filled will probably cost the economy around 500 billion (that’s right, not millions) euros by 2030.

But society and especially the management levels in many companies still don’t seem to be convinced, so many mothers have to experience that they are put on the sidelines when they return to work, have less responsibility and fewer interesting tasks – and thus ultimately fewer opportunities for promotion and, in the long run, less salary.

But Anika and Lena don’t just want to fight this with a simple placement platform – they want to change the system. Namely, by helping mothers to become self-employed and convincing companies to cover parts of the work for which they cannot fill the corresponding positions through project-based work with precisely those self-employed mothers.

Why is this so groundbreaking? Because it simply bypasses old-fashioned thinking patterns that are difficult to change: with a self-employed woman, the responsible managers usually don’t worry about the fact that she might have to leave earlier than others in the team because she is a mother. They simply don’t care if she thinks about her family from time to time (btw: are other people never?) and it is irrelevant when and how she takes her holidays, because the company no longer has anything to do with that. It pays for the work, for results, according to a pre-determined project contract, which is also often more to the bottom line. All these hierarchical and largely patriarchal structures that have arisen in our culture suddenly no longer apply, because the companies are sure that they get what they pay for.

And the women not only often get more money, but above all: more freedom. Because in freelance projects there are often large parts of remote work, there are deadlines, but otherwise more free time management and much more flexibility. Perfectly suited for parents, actually. If most people hadn’t been drilled from an early age that they needed the security of a permanent job.

So perhaps there is still some convincing to be done, just as FreeMOM expects and wants to provide learning content on the platform.

And of course we can discuss whether mothers will accept it, how well companies can be persuaded to switch more to self-employed workers despite all the hardship, whether this would not generally trigger a new wave and trend towards self-employment and whether that would be good or bad, and much more.

These are all exciting topics, but unfortunately they were not discussed at all – or did not make it into the broadcast summary.

Instead, we end up witnessing an all too patriarchal haggling between the founders and Tijen Onaran – down to the last half percent.

A pity, really.

Photo (above): TVNOW / Bernd-Michael Maurer

Ruth Cremer

Ruth Cremer is a mathematician and consultant as well as a university lecturer in the field of business models, key figures and financial planning. As a former investment manager, she knows what investors look for and also helps with pitch and document preparation in the investment or acquisition process. Since 2017, she is involved as an external consultant in the selection and preparation of the candidates in "Die Höhle der Löwen".