I have often watched Dragon’s Den and thought that the Dragons want everything delivered to them on a platter.
The whole idea of the programme is touted to be to help find and develop entrepreneurs. We forget that the true aim is to entertain and so gain viewing numbers.
One entrepreneur that the Dragons let pass them by is James Nash. He went on the programme to try and raise Â£250,000 to fund his ‘cup-a-wine’ project in return for a 25% stake in his company. Â But the Dragons Theo Paphitis, Peter Jones, James Caan, Deborah Meaden and Duncan Bannatyne all rejected the concept.
James Nash’s idea was for wine to be sold in large plastic glasses sealed with a yoghurt pot style foil top. The containers would hold a measure less than the drink drive limit but larger than the normal sizes.
But while the experts in the Den ridiculed the idea those worthies at M&S who obviously have a better understanding of the consumer, went for it. They are now unable to keep up with demand for the ‘Le Froglet’ individual wine glasses.
It’s to Mr Nash’s credit that he stuck to his guns and did not just slink away to die in a corner. He is now “ … really looking forward to facing the Dragons again as 'the one that got away'. Hopefully sales of the product will show that they're not always right.”
One where the dragons were right but lost out was with Danny Bamping and his Bedlam Cube. After being accepted by Rachel Elnaugh and Theo Paphitis during the show he promptly withdrew the offer afterwards. All he had wanted all along was the publicity as he did not need the money. His strategy won as he sold 4,500 that night and went on to win the first ever BPMA Entrepreneur of the Industry Award.
Another, which Duncan Bannatyne has admitted was his only regret at not backing, was Rob Law’s ‘Trunki’ luggage (children’s luggage with wheels so the children can ride on them).
One the dragon’s got right and netted was Levi Roots’ ‘Reggae Reggae Sauce’. Peter Jones and Richard Farley put in Â£25,000 each for a 20% stake in the company each. But now it seems that Mr Roots is being sued for Â£300,000 by Tony Bailey who alleges he is the true owner of the recipe.