Flushed with success: Last laugh for Dragons’ Den rejects

In a testament to the appeal of their idea – and the power of crowdfunding – they reached their £250K target just 27 days after first offering equity to investors on the crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom.

Such runaway success is a far cry from September 2012, when Captive Media’s founders pitched their product on the TV show Dragons’ Den, only to be rebuffed by the show’s celebrity investors. Since then the company has recorded extraordinary growth and sold its hands-free game in a dozen countries.

The “play as you pee” device consists of a screen installed above urinals in pubs and restaurants, which plays a mixture of adverts and videogames that men control by aiming their… stream.

Captive Media’s founders chose to raise funds by selling 9.4 per cent of the equity in the business on SyndicateRoom, the UK’s first crowdfunding platform to allow smaller private investors to invest in start-ups alongside established business “angels”.

SyndicateRoom provides investors with the peace of mind that traditional equity-based crowdfunding platforms do not: the knowledge that each company available for investment has been thoroughly vetted by angels – i.e. professional, experienced investors.

Angels are investing £142,500 in Captive Media, with the remaining funds coming from smaller investors – some of whom are investing as little as £500.

The lead investors are Peter Cowley and Mike Ullmann. Both are highly successful angel investors who, between them, have invested in over 40 companies, ranging from Top Table in the UK to Frog Pubs in France.

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, founder and CEO, SyndicateRoom, comments: “The Dragons will rue the day they let this company slip through their fingers. Two years after it launched, Captive Media has demonstrated its enormous potential, and its appeal to both professional and amateur investors seeking good returns.

“SyndicateRoom gives private investors the chance to invest alongside experienced business angels, who are putting their own money on the line. We’ve sought to add an extra level of security and peace of mind for anyone wishing to invest in UK start-ups via a crowdfunding platform.

“It arguably makes it easier to find winners, too, as the companies we list on our platform come pre-vetted. Captive Media was invited on after a panel of business angels deemed it to be viable and investment-ready.

“For it to reach 100% of its investment target in barely three weeks speaks volumes about Captive Media’s great promise, and the desire of investors large and small to profit from exciting young businesses. We are delighted to have brought them together, and wish them all every success.”