NewMa: A previously ignored market #DHDL
Many new markets arose because someone noticed a problem and wanted to solve it. Such a market grew particularly quickly if the problem was not insignificant - i.e. caused a certain amount of suffering - and was relevant to as large a number of people as possible. The pain and problems that most women experience after childbirth actually fit right in, yet they have been offered solutions that don't really deserve the name. How could it be that such a large and willing-to-pay market has simply been ignored until now?
The 2nd episode of the 13th season of “Die Höhle der Löwen” presented us with a taboo topic right away on Easter Monday. The two founders of NewMa want to make things much easier and more pleasant for new moms with their postpartum care products.
But isn’t there anything there yet? you might immediately ask. After all, almost half of the population can potentially be affected by these problems; in concrete terms, there are 750,000 births every year in Germany alone, and of the corresponding mothers, almost 80% suffer from wounds, tears or swelling as a result of the birth. And what are they offered against this? A frozen condom filled with water, old-fashioned cooling pads that are often far too cold, and incontinence diapers against the heavy bleeding. What reads like a bad joke is certainly anything but funny for the women affected – hundreds of thousands every year.
Sure, you could blame it all on our still patriarchal society, but are you seriously suggesting that all new dads don’t care about the suffering of their partners after the birth of their child? Or aren’t they the target group who, in the vast majority of cases, would be happy to spend money on something that would do their children’s mothers good and – not entirely altruistically, perhaps – regenerate them more quickly? After all, the first time with a newborn is not exactly easy on the nerves and strength.
No matter how you look at it, patriarchy as the sole reason that a market has not been sensibly addressed by the year 2023 is probably a bit thin here.
However, the taboo character of the whole topic – even today – cannot be completely dismissed. In the lion’s den, too, this was brought up shortly after the founders’ pitch, and new lioness Janna Ensthaler in particular praised the fact that this was a way of publicly addressing the fact that not everything is so great after giving birth. And Dagmar Wöhrl confirms the taboo of the topic, especially in earlier times, when a mother had to be perfectly happy with her newborn.
However, the fact that we have already made great strides in society in the meantime can probably be seen above all in the reaction of the male lions, because no one rejects the topic, they are all consistently interested in the products – and of course in the business.
But one by one, they drop out. Tillmann Schulz initially asks Dagmar Wöhrl whether it would be something for her – it almost seems like a double deal is in the offing – but ultimately they both drop out because they feel the competition in the hygiene sector is too strong. It’s a shame that they don’t elaborate on this (or that this elaboration didn’t fit into the broadcasting time), because after all, the founders keep emphasizing that none of the well-known hygiene brands has penetrated this area yet. Do the two lions believe that this can happen quickly? Because the founders apparently don’t get any contradiction to their statements about their pioneering work in this area.
Carsten Maschmeyer then wants to know above all what the founders want from an investor, and drops out because he can’t help so well with the focused retail sales channel. Ralf Dümmel, who certainly could, has a completely different reason for refusing: he sees a burgeoning portfolio conflict with the social chain investment Mabyen.
Last, then, remains the lioness who has been one of the most ardent advocates of the issue: Janna Ensthaler. She refers to her experience with Glossybox – a subscription box from the cosmetics sector that probably also had a baby box on offer – and is skeptical about a market that loses its customers almost immediately after they have been acquired. She also mentions the cost of customer acquisition – which is exciting, since one might expect her to be very familiar with customer acquisition costs due to her experience in this area. Perhaps one can interpret her subsequent refusal in such a way that she reckons here with not too favorable marketing costs, which are again opposed by the short life span of the customers. Since the young startup, after only 4 months on the market and about 500 products sold, is not yet able to compete very well, this exit is quite understandable, despite all the enthusiasm for the topic.
In the end, all the lions gave factual, investor-worthy reasons for rejection, which unfortunately are often still somewhat thin on the ground in the general German startup scene according to the reports of many “Female Health” founders. Even if we have been able to leave many taboos behind us in the meantime, unfortunately not all investors are in a position to evaluate topics with which they have fears of contact in a purely economic and not overly emotional way.
Let’s hope that NewMa is one of those pioneers who not only open up a market, but with their economic success also give a good lesson to all those who, out of old-fashioned thinking, have not dared to solve a problem.
Photo (above): TVNOW / Bernd-Michael Maurer
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".