In this questionnaire, we ask the founders and participants of the Vox show The Lion’s Den questions about their products and experiences on the show. This time: Iris-Sabine Langstädtlerthe founder of Freibeik.
Freibeik: A movable saddle joint for more flexibility
In April 2022, the eleventh season of the Vox founders show “Die Höhle der Löwen” started. In the fifth episode, bicycle expert Iris-Sabine Langstädtler and her daughter presented Freibeik’s flexible saddle element.
The founder was even able to win two partners for her start-up during her pitch on the Vox start-up show “DHDL”, because: With Carsten Maschmeyer and Ralf Dümmel, two lions invested together.
BASIC thinking: Hello Iris, you are part of the eleventh season of “Die Höhle der Löwen”. How does that feel?
It’s all like in a movie, like in a fairy tale, we’re very happy. The pitch went so well and the offer and the subsequent deal were a unique feeling, we couldn’t have done better with Ralf Dümmel and Carsten Maschmeyer. It just feels great.
What makes the Freibeik saddle joint so special?
That it is really unique and also patented in Europe. Our product is an innovative saddle joint for bicycles. The joint sits between the saddle and the bicycle frame. This makes the saddle movable and allows it to rotate up to 15 degrees in any direction. In this way, it optimally adapts to the driver when driving and ensures a smooth movement.
The concept and the idea behind Freibeik
How did you come up with the idea and your concept?
My family and I have a two-wheeler business and know our customers and their wishes and problems when riding a bike very well. On a quiet Saturday in October 2015, I came up with the idea. We cleaned up the “saddle corner” in our bike shop.
The question arose as to why people have been inventing saddles with new fillings, padding and shapes for two centuries, but still cannot find a sufficiently comfortable model for many. We wondered why bicycle saddles never adapt and move with the movement.
That’s when I had the idea of building a joint under the saddle. A first prototype was quickly built and the subsequent test drive gave an idea of how comfortable it was to drive. I quickly realized how many customers were interested. I took part in a competition with my prototype and immediately won first place. That was the starting shot.
In 2019 we applied for the “WRG Innovationspreis Göttingen”, where we took second place and immediately afterwards in November 2019 we were awarded the gold medal at the “International Inventors and Innovations Fair IENA Nuremberg”. In 2020, Freibeik was nominated for the “Eurobike Award” at the Eurobike 2020, which unfortunately could not take place due to Corona.
Freibeik: The Pitch and “The Lion’s Den”
And how did you end up in The Lion’s Den?
We were contacted by the editors of “Die Höhle der Löwen” almost at the same time as the Eurobike was cancelled. We then applied as normal and were fortunately invited. I’ve been a loyal viewer since the first show and know almost every product. Performing there was always a dream.
What was going through your mind just before your pitch?
We were already excited. But not in fear, more in anticipation. We were confident of being able to convince the lions if they went for a test drive.
I was just a bit concerned about not being able to recite my text as concentrated and concisely as planned. My biggest concern was fitting everything important as the saddle joint has so many features that we wanted to make clear.
How did the subsequent negotiations go?
While we were still talking, Carsten Maschmeyer and Ralf Dümmel got up and Carmen jumped for joy. Because that meant that the two of them would agree and then maybe make us an offer together.
When they actually made us an offer, we were very happy, but still spoke briefly on the phone. Because the percentages desired by the lions were higher than what we originally wanted to give up. However, there was also a strong lion more on board – so we quickly agreed.
What has happened to you and your product since shooting and participating?
We have further perfected ourselves and our product and have now brought it directly to series production. In addition, we are already working on a follow-up product with a higher system weight.
Freibeik: So it goes on now
And how does it continue? What are the next steps?
Our vision is a world full of bicycles with Freibeik saddle joints and grateful, happy customers who use their bikes more often and with more fun. The next steps are first the further conquest of the market, this then also outside of Germany.
Looking back, how do you rate your experience at The Lion’s Den?
Very, very positive. We got great feedback from the lions and even backstage they were happy for us! Everyone was so nice to us, it was really great. We then started working immediately after our deal and since then we have been working together with our lions in a super great team. We would do this step again and again.