When Lea-Sophie Cramer was small, she wanted to become a car towing. But nothing came of it. Instead, she started a career as an entrepreneur and sold in school time even painted pictures to afford lollipops and gummy bears. Almost 20 years later, Cramer is still acting, but no longer with art, but with sextoys. The 31-year-old is now the boss of the 100 million euro online erotic store Amorelie, investor, mother of two – and soon to be a television star.
Amorelie founder is to bring more expertise to the show
In the Prosieben founder show “The Thing of the Year” (DDDJ), she sits on Tuesday as a new addition to the jury and should, according to the station “bring an extra dose of women’s expertise” in the second season.
The expertise is in dire need of the show. While in the competition show “The Cave of the Lions” hard-hitting investors put the inventions through their paces, in the first DDDJ season much was amazed and little critically followed up. At the cuddly course of the jury, consisting of model Lena Gercke and entertainer Joko Winterscheidt, the third juror, the rather tame Rewe purchasing chief Hans-Jürgen Moog, could not change much. The result: bad TV reviews and a drop in ratings after the premiere.
Now it’s up to Lea-Sophie Cramer. Prosieben brings an experienced entrepreneur on board with the juror. At the age of 25, she founded the online erotic shop Amorelie with the mission to get the sex toy business out of the rubbish corner to appeal to more couples and women. A project that was not always easy to pitch in the men’s world of investment firms. But the plan worked. Amorelie now has an annual turnover of 56 million euros, is listed in the dm drugstores and has been a majority shareholder since 2015.
Lea-Sophie Cramer is Prosieben’s counterpart to Frank Thelen
With her appearance in the primetime show Cramer certainly has the potential to become the new face of the German startup scene. The job as “Mr. Startup” was previously owned by Frank Thelen, who became a crowd pleaser as a jury member of “The Cave of the Lions “. Like the Amorelie boss, he is a successful founder and investor.
However, the competition with the Vox show and Thelen sees Cramer calm. “I think it’s great that there are so many TV formats with founders now. Entrepreneurs do not always enjoy the best reputation. With ‘The Thing of the Year’ we can motivate more people to think big and take a risk”she told Business Insider. The more role models there are better.
“I do not think the show is too simple for reasons”
Between the jurors of the two shows, there were always friction in the past, also Thelen said: “The structure of a company is presented in ‘The Thing of the Year’ as simple and fun. That contradicts reality” he told Business Insider a good year ago.
In fact, DDDL is also in the new season more about the inventions and less about the business plan, said Cramer to the criticism. “But I do not think the show is too simplistic”.
In at least one point, “The Thing of the Year” is even very close to the startup reality: the founders’ share in Germany is just 15 percent – and even in the show there are significantly more inventors than inventors. In addition to their expertise Cramer should therefore bring more women’s power in the program. “As a jury member, I may be able to encourage more women to apply in the next season” said the entrepreneur.
“We need more female role models”
Even beyond the show Cramer is committed to more equal opportunities. “We need more female role models and investments in women-owned companies. That does not mean that you should invest in startups that you do not believe in. It’s just about not being discriminated against”.
Especially family planning often keeps women back. How hard it is sometimes to reconcile children and companies shows their own biography. After the birth of her first child she returned to the office after three months – with baby. At her second birth she even took her service laptop to the hospital to send out a presentation at the last minute.
“I think it’s like [Facebook manager] Sheryl Sandberg: Lean in! You can not give up until you’re really out” says Cramer. The startups at “The Thing of the Year” will probably have to be judged by this maxim – regardless of whether they are founders or founders.