Dragons’ Den: How to narrowly gain investment in a popular market

Dragons' Den

Self-proclaimed ‘workaholic’ Ranjit Sohal, entered the den asking for a £50,000 investment in his silicon housing for accessed lighting business, targeted at the audience of technicians for its safety and compliance benefits, in return for a 15 per cent equity share. Although it was a bright start to the pitch, being described as ‘innovative’ by Peter, there was much deliberation about the colour choices of the silicon light fittings. I personally thought that the colours were slightly resplendent and that it would maybe narrow down the audience even further, as black and white would be the most commonly opted for colours. The Dragons’ ignite began to dim and they were failing to see the light by the end of the pitch, as was I. As Nick describes the business as being ‘not investable’ the other Dragons follow his thoughts, resulting in a blackout. No offers to this eager entrepreneur.Next in the den were Lauren and Mark Taylor, presenting their brand ‘Kokosobaby’ which consists of coconut oil based skincare baby products, promoting a more organic and natural approach to childcare. Their impressive stockist, Boots, failed to uphold the initial interest that this gained, due to the fact that their numbers prompted concern. The idea of becoming more organic in skincare, especially in regards to babies is a progressively popular trend that is beginning to evolve. This becomes no wonder when four out of five Dragons declare themselves out because of a conflicting investment that they have in other similar businesses. At this point, I know I’d be feeling discouraged, especially as the Dragons were literally dropping like flies. The couple stood there in hope, which paid off, gaining a negotiated offer from Touker who gave them the £50,000 investment they were seeking, but with a discussed equity share of 30 per cent buy back to 25 per cent.Next to capture my attention was John Ball’s pitch, asking for £50,000 investment in his tablet/ smartphone stand business, for a 20 per cent equity share. After sharing a perhaps intentional story of his struggle, Peter asks if he has come for ‘investment or counselling?’ – Which undoubtedly caused a chuckle amongst many viewers, but also put him in his place as John then got down to business. As the Dragons began to question numbers, John became guarded in some aspects. Why would you go on Dragons’ Den, which you know will be broadcasted on television, knowing also that you’ll be asked about figures, only to answer that they’re “not something I’m happy to go on television”? – big fail! The amount of cases and stands currently out in the market, especially where some of which are cheaper, are bound to cause tough competition. This is a shared concern amongst the Dragons and so, even though praise is given, John leaves empty handed. Peter concludes, “great product, small potential.” PitPatFinally, after a rather unsuccessful start of pitches, Andrew Nowell concludes this episode with his pitch, presenting ‘PitPat’ – a gadget that dogs wear around their necks, allowing the owners to monitor their activity by enabling a link to their free app. The valuation is negatively described throughout the pitch including ‘crazy’ and ‘ridiculous‘ and Peter is eager to find out what IP that the company owns valuable enough for it to be a £2 million worth business. Andrew begins to stumble as the interrogation of Peter’s questions seems to trouble his flow of responses. As Deborah reassured Andrew that the product was a good one and worth a tail wag, she and Nick pair for a matching offer, allowing Andrew to gain the £150,000 investment he was hoping for but a significantly higher equity share than what he was offering. Andrew left empty handed, even when proposing a counter offer of a 12.5 per cent as a limit of equity share, 5 per cent higher than his original 7.5 per cent share offering. Nick and Deborah were eager for the 10 per cent each, leaving no choice but to devastatingly decline the offer.