Dragons’ Den: Dragon cottons on to keepsake deal

Dragons' Den

The den never fails to welcome a variation of businesses in. Tonight we saw a range of pitches that presented different products from food-to-go to keepsake gifts, all of which made the programme quite an entertaining episode.

Unusually, there were not as many pitches shown during tonight’s episode as there would be normally. Perhaps these were the pitches that were particularly long, after-all, one entrepreneur did come out of the den expressing that he felt that he’d just spent four hours in the ring!

The first to walk into the den tonight were business partners, Roger and Phil. They were hoping to seek an investment of £80,000 in their personal security gadget business and were willing to exchange the investment for a 15 per cent equity stake.

Their product was designed in order to ensure confidence of security, mainly for people staying at hotels. It works as follows: you place the device under the door and then tighten it – which will lift the door slightly, almost like a wedge.

After doing so, this is supposed to prevent anyone from making their way through the door and into the room in which you are present, however, this didn’t prove to work to its expectations as Nick managed to barge his way through the device fitted door within around 10 seconds – Oh.

What none of the Dragons picked up on was the query on carrying this device around in luggage. It’s not a very large device but it’s not very small either and I know for one, I would not want to carry it with me whilst travelling, especially as it has only found to simply delay an intruder’s entrance. You may as well just use a chair by the door instead of wasting £24.99 on a ‘Door Jammer’.

The name doesn’t reflect much creativity either, however the people behind the business are far from unintelligent. Already owning a business that profits millions of pounds, Dragons were curious as to why Roger and Phil were coming to the den.

After much discussion, finding that although the product will sell, the Dragons were not confident enough to invest. As a result the multimillionaires leave with nothing but advice, and of course, still their ragingly successful other business.

Next to pitch was Cambridge post-graduate, Sunil, who was asking for a £80,000 investment in exchange for a 5 per cent equity stake in his food-to-go business, ‘Great Grub’.

Before even entering the den, he seemed to like what he sees in the mirror, as if his clean cut beard and slick hair didn’t give it away, the hidden cameras certainly did.

His business is food that is inspired by street food-to-go options and the company praises itself on being halal so that everyone can eat the product.

When sharing his background of modelling and financial education and experience, he stated previously that “I was an A-list celebrity” – sorry, what? Fair enough, he may have done some good modelling campaigns and impressive shoots, but ‘A-list celebrity’ is probably not the label he should have used.

Despite Sunil’s attempts at convincing the Dragons that he is a driven and determined individual with a strong work ethic, it’s the product that doesn’t intrigue them. Sarah’s concern over the limited labelling of being halal on the product and Nick’s uncertainty on the company’s legal name, as well as Sunil failing to justify his £1.5 million company value, all contributed to reasoning for all Dragons opting out.

Steve and Sam were next to enter the den in hopes to ideally secure £75,000 investment from Nick or Sarah in exchange for a 5 per cent equity stake in their business ‘TickX’.

Fundamentally, the company is a price comparison site for tickets for events such as concerts. The platform is completely free, with no additional costs for the user.

Although this is a fairly good idea, it’s difficult to believe that it hasn’t been done before. The struggle and long process of getting people to begin to think of ‘TickX’ for tickets rather than sites such as ‘Ticketmaster’ was a concern, particularly for Sarah, who chose to opt out as a result.

Finding out that there was a larger shareholder than Steve and Sam themselves was interesting, however, they were not willing to reveal who and what amount in which they shared. But, you can always count on a Dragon to reveal information if you’re not willing to and Peter was smugly happy to let out the Ministry of Sound share.

Despite this, Peter managed to talk himself into an offer with Nick, both offering half of the asking amount for 10 per cent equity each. Touker also made an offer of all of the asking amount but for 15 per cent equity, all offers significantly exceeding the offered equity stake.

After an obligatory talk to the back den wall, the entrepreneurs revealed that the equity stake the Dragons were asking for was just too high and consequently, all Dragons declared themselves ‘out’.

Last but by no means least, Rachel and Mary entered the den to pitch their company ‘Love, Keep, Create’ – a personal gifting company that creates a range of toys/animals out of clothing such as baby grows or shirts.

This online business clearly captured the interest of all Dragons who seemed to be intrigued by the heartfelt keepsakes displayed in-front of them and the £50,000 Rachel and Mary came in asking for seemed to be well in their eyesight.

Although the Dragons seemed quite unaware of their products, I don’t believe they’re as unique as they seem. I have seen numerous people doing these type of keepsake teddies and characters on small businesses found on Facebook for example and therefore, I don’t feel they have been very unique with their idea. This does not mean that I don’t like it though, I think it’s a great idea and a perfect way of recycling clothing in a memorial way.

Sharing the preparation for the seasonal nature of the business impressed Nick who’s query was covered before he had to mention it.

One Dragon did seem fairly undecided on the business, simply because he didn’t see the large potential for scalability and his Dragon was Touker. Consequently, Touker chose not to invest, to which Peter surprisingly joined him and chose to keep his chequebook shut too.

However, Rachel and Mary did manage to bind three Dragons’ interest, all of which Deborah, Nick and Sarah chose to offer exactly what they were asking for – £50,000 for a 10 per cent equity stake.

After little discussion, I though that due to his marketing skills and experience in personal gifting, Nick may have got the acceptance for this one but no! Deborah managed to receive confidence from Rachel and Mary who chose to cotton her on to the future of their business.