Dragons’ Den: Address, Impress, Invest

Dragons' Den

A rather entertaining Dragons’ Den hit our screens last night with a wide range of contrasting business ideas and propositions. From finger-wear to help fold paper – yes, I know… to pork scratching fanatics, the Den was not lost for choice.

First to face the roars of the Dragons was a French entrepreneur presenting his business ‘Mini You’ – an organisation that uses technical printing to produce life-like miniature 3D models out of chocolate/wax and other forms of material. The Frenchman was seeking £80,000 worth of investment for 15 per cent equity in his company which failed to ignite the Dragons’ interest. If I’m totally honest, I concurred with Peter Jones’ description of the ‘bizarre’ prospect of the business, simply because of the mirroring dimension of the product, to the potential that this business has to grow – Tres petit!

What this clearly unprepared entrepreneur taught us viewers, was the importance of numbers – even for the simple demand of profit. Deborah Meaden’s attempt to retrieve solidarity on figures proved unjustifiable, as the Frenchman threw his arms up, and expressed a supposed estimated figure in which Deborah still had to assist him on. The £15,000/£16,000 estimated profit a year proved to belittle his business even more as the value the Dragons were seeking was beginning to shrink. As expected, the result concluded and all Dragons declared ‘out’ as they waved, au revoir!

The next pitch was a notable one, where fashion duo, Sarah and Beth, were in hope to dazzle the eyes of Touker Suleyman proposing their demand for £78,000 in return for a 15 per cent share in their fashion brand.

Their two ranges ‘Alter’ and ‘Hope & Ivy’ had been claimed to have flown off the rails to successful and well-known fashion brand ASOS, as well as having sewed up an impressive half a million pounds in just 5 months. However, regardless of this success, a strategic Touker zipped in and out with critical comments, but didn’t affect the optimistic trend between the other Dragons. His cheeky offer of 40% in the business totally contradicted his initially harsh and belittling remarks that did nothing to elevate his position as a preferred investor. The disbelief demonstrated by Touker only served him a polite decline of his offer, as the duo end up opting for a trendy pairing of Deborah and Peter to help their fashion ranges smash the sales.

A short interlude followed into a rather laughable pitch by entrepreneur, Rupert, requesting £40,000 investment for 40 per cent equity in his business ‘Fimble Folder’.

Now, I can’t quite believe that this invention had earned any money at all. Who would buy a ‘Fimble Folder’ to help you fold the perfect crease in your paper? Although, thinking about it, I’m not sure if I’d want to take the perilous risk of suffering the terrifying indentation within my skin, otherwise known as a paper cut! And, it gets better – there are two available sizes for this supposed essential!

A deserved description of Rupert’s ‘stupid’ and ‘ridiculous’ invention, finally folded up the pitch with the famous two words from all five Dragons – ‘I’m out’.

Hoping to secure an investment next, was father and daughter, John and Anna who were not prepared for a slippage from their non-slip attachable ‘i-Stay’ bag strap. The practical issue of slipping bag straps is one that many will know the struggle of – especially commuters. Although, the invention had already received a hefty amount of investment, it hadn’t aided the grip of the 3 consecutive years of NET loss. The trend in confusion of numbers and annual losses prevented the pair from bagging an investment from any of the Dragons.

Okay, not ideal for vegetarians and vegans but Nick and Andrew’s flavoured pork scratchings hogged the interest of the hungry Dragons – that is, apart from Sarah the ‘un-Willing-ham’ who quickly professed her distaste for the generic pork scratching. Myself, on the other hand, loved the idea! The initially faultless presentation happened to stumble a trotter, as a porker of a question in regards to figures proved to throw the entrepreneurs. The ambitious duo declared they wanted to piggy-bank a £6.9 million turnover in the next 3 years. Their unique 11 flavours and research into the pork scratching industry which accounts to a whopping £40 million a year, still happened to attract the Dragons’ hungry eyes. Nick Jenkins clearly saw the potential as this business had already more than scratched the surface.