Pee & Bob: When founder and investor are fans of each other #DHDL

Right after the pitch, praises showered down as Pee & Bob's founder, Anna Wirsching, delivered her presentation with such joy and zeal that all five 'Lions' themselves were beaming competitively. She captivates without artificial storytelling, excites without painting exaggerated visions.


Especially in recent times, there have been frequent reports of investors employing impossible negotiation tactics to drive valuations down as much as possible. Previously, it was more common for founding teams to boost their egos with the valuations they achieved. However, neither of these approaches is sensible for starting a long-term collaboration. Anna Wirsching from Pee & Bob showed on “Die Höhle der Löwen” how to strike a completely different tone from the outset.

Lions as well as the audience noticed it right from the first few sentences: a very special founder stood before them. Someone who was passionate about her product, enjoyed presenting and selling it – and who didn’t need to pretend at all to make the best possible impression.

The topic of her startup isn’t even something that would typically generate huge enthusiasm: Pee & Bob is a mobile child potty, making it much easier for parents when their little ones suddenly need to go while on the move.

That this represents a problem was confirmed by all the Lions, as they themselves have children and have all experienced the situation described by the founder. But with Pee & Bob, that will be history: the base frame is quickly set up, a plastic bag with a special absorbent core goes in, and then the neatly packed waste can simply and cleanly be disposed of in the nearest bin. The frame itself is then quickly packed away and stored compactly.

And this generates storms of enthusiasm? Yes, but mainly for founder Anna. Not only does she master the pitch with incredible charisma, but she also has an answer to all questions and her passion for her product continually shines through.

No Lion had a bad word to say, yet Nils Glagau drops out because, although the founder blows him away, the product apparently isn’t quite his thing. Tillmann Schulz is also impressed by her, but can’t offer as much help as he would like.

What might surprise many: Carsten Maschmeyer, who is usually more interested in the tech and health topics of the next generation, does not initially decline but emphasizes that for him, the founder always comes before the product. Only after there are two offers does he also bow out. Would he have preferred not to let the captivating founder leave the den without a deal?

But he doesn’t have to, as Dagmar Wöhrl starts the bidding, exactly with the deal the founder wished for: €30,000 for 10%. Ralf Dümmel joins in, but emphasizes that he needs at least 20% for the investment to make sense for him. This is something often heard from him in the den. Remarkably, he simultaneously – without further negotiation – raises the investment sum so that even with his deal the valuation amounts to €300,000: he offers a full €60,000 for the desired 20%.

Dagmar Wöhrl then pulls even, letting the founder choose whether she wants the original deal or the same deal offered by Ralf Dümmel.

But what exactly could be the reason for the Lions’ behavior? A lack of desire to negotiate? Yes and no. No investor probably just gives up on negotiating on a whim.

However, what founder Anna has accomplished here is something quite special: through her outstanding personality, she has simply made it incredibly appealing for the investors to want to work with her. Although still relatively at the beginning, she also calls for a very fair valuation. This signals to investors that she is aware of the phase her company is currently in, but also of the value of the investors, and wants to move forward with them.

She captivates without artificial storytelling, excites without painting exaggerated visions. One simply believes what she says, believes her stories and her visions to the last word. Such enthusiasm, but also such approachability, can prevent any imbalance between founders and investors. It may happen that strategies and next steps are already being discussed, where others are still haggling over the last percentages.

This is not only more pleasant but also directs the energy in the right direction: everything flows from the beginning into the growth of the company. After all, one wants to work together successfully for a long time, and very few truly successful partnerships start with a confrontation.

In this case, the founder still consults with her husband, who seems to cling more to the numbers, but eventually opts for Ralf Dümmel, as she has probably always been a fan of his. He is pleased and self-titles as an “Anna fan” during the subsequent hug.

A more fitting conclusion to this case could hardly have been achieved: founders and investors need not be adversaries, as long as they are still negotiating. They can also start a good collaboration from the outset as mutual fans.

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".