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Audory deal burst: that’s why the start of the audio book came up empty

An app for interactive radio games: This brought startup Audory a deal with DHDL. However, it broke out after the show. Why the founder is happy about it.

Audory founder Max Rose in “Lion’s Den”. Only Carsten Maschmeyer and Georg Kofler convinced, and then they received a rejection.
TV Now / Bernd-Michael Maurer

In the end it was a duel between a total of three lions. Carsten Maschmeyer and Georg Kofler on the one hand, Nils Glagau on the other: They all wanted to invest in Max Rose’s company on the Monday night start-up show “Die Höhle der Löwen”. The 23-year-old computer scientist had previously presented his startup Audory, an online platform for interactive radio plays, to investors. “I want to bring writers into the 21st century,” Rose described the concept.

Specifically, platform users can actively intervene in the course of the story. The questions are asked over and over again at intervals of several minutes. Depending on the answer users choose, the process continues accordingly. Rose promised the lions that nothing was needed other than the Audory app. The founder of Chemnitz expected from them an investment of 120,000 euros. In return, he pledged 15 percent of the company’s shares to him.

Enthusiasm – despite only 1,100 euros in sales

The fact that Rose has only been able to gain a few hundred users for her app to date, which together generated sales of around €1,100, didn’t seem to deter the lions. On the contrary: Carsten Maschmeyer in particular was impressed by the young founder, also by his abilities. Rose wrote her undergraduate thesis on artificial intelligence. For Audory, he developed an upload filter that automatically recognizes and classifies low-quality audiobooks. “Mega!” Maschmeyer declared. The Nils Glagau jury was also elated. He grew up with radio plays and loves them. Now he also sees this enthusiasm in his children. “It will work,” Glagau said.

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Consequently, the lion made an offer to the founder: 120,000 euros for 15 percent of Audory’s shares. Exactly the conditions that Max Rose had wanted. But Carsten Maschmeyer and Georg Kofler also joined. Both lions offered Rose to invest a total of 200,000 euros in his startup. In exchange, he would have to give up 20 percent of his company.

After a brief phone call with a mentor, the decision was made: Rose chose the combination of Maschmeyer and Kofler. Not only because Maschmeyer already has application experience. Georg Kofler and his influencer company Social Chain also promised the founder significant marketing opportunities.

No agreement on strategy

However, as the founding scene discovered, the deal did not come after the show. “There were different views on the future direction of the company,” a spokesman for Carsten Maschmeyer said when asked. No one wanted to comment on further details. Just this: the lions and the founders parted ways on good terms. When asked, Audory founder Max Rose also confirmed: “I can call Carsten and Georg at any time,” said the Chemnitz native.

By the way, the cancellation did not harm him financially. On the contrary: a short time later, Rose was able to win over the Saxon investment company as an investor. She contributed a total of 300,000 euros -and even without taking action for it-. It is a silent participation, which means that an investor only participates in the profits of the company, but does not exercise any control rights by himself. Founder Rose is pleased: “At first, the deal was even better.”