Dragons’ Den is in its fourth series and we are continuing to offer budding entrepreneurs from across the country the chance to make their business dreams come true. Last series was our most successful; 27 year old Ian Chamings secured investment of £150,000 when he convinced the Dragons that his piece of mixing software MixAlbum.com was set to revolutionise dance music downloads.
Matthew Hazell pitched his First Light Solutions ‘man overboard’ alert system to the Dragons and impressed them with his water tight patent, securing an investment of £100,000 from Australian millionaire Richard Farleigh.
Rob Kinna received an investment of £60,000 for his Bak-Jak – a simple support system designed to protect car mechanics from back strain injuries.
Of course, not everyone gets investment in the Den but plenty go on to find success. John Moreland Lynn and his designer polo clothing label Polistas subsequently secured private investment and he’s now on track to open the flagship store. Anneliese Pritchard’s Nitty Gritty guide to Bristol went on to win a sponsorship deal with a major bank for a branded student map and she’s now discussing opportunities to go nationwide. And even after the Dragons pooh-poohed her disposable toilet seat covers, Jacqueline Edwards was approached by potential investors and is in discussions to supply through dispensing machines throughout the UK.
The rules are simple. The entrepreneurs can ask for any amount of investment in return for equity in their business. However, they must get at least the amount they ask for or they will walk away with nothing. The Dragons are prepared to listen to a pitch for any kind of business but they must be convinced that the business will make money.
As demonstrated by the investments in the last three series, there are key areas that make an entrepreneur viable for Dragons’ Den. Ideas, businesses and products that meet some or all of the following criteria stand a really good chance of securing the Dragons’ interest:
• The Unique Selling Point: A product that serves a need like nothing else.
• Scalability: Something that can be upscaled to make real money.
• Route to Market: The clear way the product can be sold and marketed.
• Mutually Beneficial Arrangement: Just what will the Dragons get out of it?
• Exit Strategy: A plan of how the entrepreneur/Dragon will exit and make money.
The BBC are currently searching for Britain’s best new entrepreneurs and will be auditioning throughout the coming months. We want to hear from anyone who thinks they’ve got what it takes to enter the Dragons’ Den.