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Thursday, 28 September 2006

Dragon's Den: Where are they Now?

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This catch-up with the investment winners (and losers) from the last series of Dragons’ Den showed us how the entrepreneurs were getting on 12 months down the line. Most were treading water, but some – and not all of them had secured the Dragons’ investment – were doing rather well. There was a certain satisfaction in seeing those who had been singed by the Dragons fire still persisting with their dreams.

Highlights
• Stef Matheou, Inventor of Rakastaka (a bottle stacking system for domestic fridges) had turned down an offer of £100,000 for 40% and was still driving his cab, but had sold a number to a home cataloguer and the business was ticking along nicely.
• Sam Fountain, Inventor of She-Wee (a device that helped women pee standing up) had not secured an investment – both Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne were pretty scathing about the concept – but had shifted a load of units via the Internet and her turnover was to £100k a year.
• Danny Bamping, owner of Bedlam Puzzles, secured a joint investment from Rachel Elnaugh and Theo Paphitis, but some weeks after the programme decided that a bank loan that enabled him to maintain his shareholding was a better option. He was doing very well and had signed a number of overseas licenses, but Theo was visibly disappointed that the deal hadn’t happened.
• Dominic Killinger – owner of Square Mile, a wireless internet system for boat owners – was the programme’s big success story. A three-way bidding war was won by a Paphitis-Jones combo and they both clearly thought a lot of their protégé.

Lowlights
• Claire, the owner of Smartypants (personalised underwear), hadn’t secured investment and had remortgaged her house, against the advice of the Dragons. Her warehouse was definitely the opposite of a hive of activity, and she had 18,000 pants to sell! Things weren’t looking good!
• Graham and Barry – the Laurel and Hardy of entrepreneurs – and inventors of the baby rocking Dream- Machine had decided to go their separate ways. The Dragons were denied an opportunity to see a third pitch from them.

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