It wasn’t for a lack of trying, though, with innovative products like Towbag and Roomii impressing the panel with their enthusiasm, Benjamin’s Hot Chocolate provided us all with a lesson on how not to pitch your idea.
The first business to pitch for investment have high hopes to convert the British public back to sleeping under wool with natural bedding. Everyone appreciates a comfortable sleep, so Baavet went down extremely well with the Dragons. Seeking £130,000 for 15% equity, the entrepreneurs were left with a decision to make when Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne both offered half the money for 25% of the business. Though the temptation may have been there, Baavet rejected the offer, feeling it would be an injustice to years of hard work to part with half of their business.
This space-saving product is a lightweight folding trailer and has many uses. Peter and Claire Lomas’ brand was quashed by Peter Jones, who actually owns a number of trailers himself. But as we’ve seen so many times on the programme before, the Dragons were unable to see the market potential of the product and couldn’t justify giving away £50,000 of their well-earned money.
Benjamin Mougarbel’s pitch got off to the perfect start with his in-the-cup hot chocolate. He stated he had already secured £400,000 in orders and was seeking £65,000 for a 10% in his business. His enthusiasm was rubbing off on five of Britain’s sharpest business brains and he was causing a stir with his plans to set up a factory in Ghana. But it certainly wasn’t one for the health-conscious, with a whopping 362 calories in one cup. Mougarbel’s Dragons’ Den experience took a turn for the worst when his figures were questioned by Piers Linney and Jones. “Let's pause for a minute and smell the hot chocolate should we?” Honesty is key in business and the Ghanian entrepreneur evidence was weak and the bruising encounter was ended with Mougarbel leaving empty handed.
In any situation when pitching, a business has to justify the problem it's solving, right? Karoline Gross and her business Smartzer did just that, with a confident pitch where she showcased her unique online video tagging software. With smartphones and tablets prominent today, Gross was flying the flag in technology and her innovation product allows customers to find out more information through interactive videos. A 21st century alternative to a shopping catalogue, but the cost of her service raised a few eyebrows. Another one bites the dust then, with Smartzer the latest business to exit the Den without extra cash.
One of the most famous rejections in Dragons’ Den history was Trunki, who despite failing to get investment from the panel, have gone on to experience global success. So partners Filip Devogeleer and Jessica Wang were hoping to go one better than Rob Law with their business. Asking for a £70,000 investment and willing to part with 15% of their startup, the short but sweet pitch was hailed by Jones. There were questions raised over the margin and the scope to raise enough finances to expand their business. They came within a whisker of leaving with investment, and though they followed Trunki’s suit, their brand was applauded by the Dragons.
Filip Devogeleer and Jessica Wang impressed the Dragons with the brand but failed to secure any investment after the panel couldn’t justify the £70,000 they had hoped for.
Benjamin Mougarbel did his best to wow Peter Jones and co with his confident pitch and proof of documentation to back up his claims. But his evidence was rejected by the fivesome and he was left red-faced.