Deborah Meaden of Dragon's Den fame invests in a brand that gives things away
She may be one of Britain’s wealthiest women, but Deborah Meaden has shown that you don’t get to be a successful business woman without learning to appreciate a bargain. Her latest investment as part of the ever-popular entrepreneurial start-up show Dragons’ Den, was not in a company that makes, sells, or fixes things; but a brand based entirely upon giving things away – LatestFreeStuff.co.uk.
With revenue of £350,000 and more than 300,000 monthly visitors, LatestFreeStuff is already a successful going concern, but as company founder Deepak Tailor explains, he went to see the Dragons for more than just money. ‘I went to the show asking for £50,000 in return for a 10 per cent stake in LatestFreeStuff, but it wasn’t the investment that I was really interested in; it was the expertise of the Dragons.
‘LatestFreeStuff has experienced tremendous growth,’ Tailor adds, ‘but the Dragons have so much knowledge and experience when it comes to opening doors and expanding businesses; it’s this that is of real value to me. When I first started my pitch none of them really seemed to understand what it was that I wanted, but once the penny dropped the Dragons all appeared to love my business, and I ended up getting three offers, which was incredible. Deborah Meaden made the best offer, and shaking hands on the deal was an amazing feeling.’
Tailor came up with the idea for LatestFreeStuff when he was a student. Cash-strapped, he spent a lot of time on the internet, sending off for free samples in a bid to save money. It was time consuming and not always very worthwhile, with the freebies coming with plenty of caveats. Knowing plenty of other students in his situation, Tailor decided to launch his own website, full of giveaways, but free from the red tape that bound all of the existing sites.
Today LatestFreeStuff.co.uk lists over 600 free products from top brands and companies; it has a user database of over 120,000 members; and is currently working with the likes of Vodafone, O2, TasteCard, Amazon and Uber. The website brings users some amazing deals, free samples and the chance to ‘try before they buy’, and provides an excellent marketing platform for manufacturers and retailers to enhance their brand awareness.
Thus far the company has grown virally through a mixture of word of mouth, social media and search engine traffic, with Deborah Meaden’s advice and investment, the aim was to take the platform to an international market, beginning with America, before spreading across the globe.
‘This is a really exciting time for LatestFreeStuff,’ says Deepak Tailor. ‘I can’t wait to see what the coming year brings.’