The Online Dragons Den has become so successful that it is going offline… to BBC2.
The Online Dragons Den is the same concept to the Dragons Den we know and love but is much more accessible to pitchers. Anyone can submit a video to the Online Dragons Den asking for an investment of up to £50,000 and the best pitches are selected by the BBC and the entrepreneurs are invited to pitch to the online dragons Shaf Rasul and Julie Meyer.
Edinburgh based Shaf has made his millions in property and computers. His E-net Computers business is worth £35m and has other interests in Dubai and property.
American by birth and European in spirit, Julie came to Paris in September 1988 and has been working with technology business leaders and entrepreneurs ever since.
The BBC2 show is hosted by Dom Bryne who presents the highlights from the online pitches. This week the show includes Graeme and Tom Hill’s Mpod and Victor Scott’s commuter-friendly trolley trike. Plus Brian Loughborough’s economical haircare solution and Christine Turner-Crowe’s Hay Hammock.
Graeme and Tom Hill’s Mpod never got as far as the dragons, it was a large sack with the words SOS on it which you put over yourself to signify the need for help if you break down on the motorway. All very Odd.
Marcus Reoch http://www.dragonsineurope.com did get into the den, dressed like a court jester, he was looking for £50,000 for 15% in “the Chinese dragons club” teaching afterschool mandarin to children. Marcus was questioned thoroughly in typical Dragons Den style. The dragons first discussed the concept of the company and then went on to discuss financials. Julie was out because she didn’t feel Marcus was hungry to grow and increase revenues. She felt this was more of a lifestyle business for Marcus rather than an investment. After Julie was out Marcus revealed more to Shaf to try and get his investment. Shaf just couldn’t see how he could get the investment to stack up and make a return so he was out also.
Lisa Penn and Matthew Penn were next to make it into the den with their cosy shopper baby blanket. They wanted £20,000 for 15% for their business and gave a positive pitch, however the dragons felt the couple weren’t committed to giving enough time to the business.
Family fridge limited http://www.familyfridge.co.uk, is a free website the invention of Alexi Deak who wanted £20,000 investment for 20% in this free website. The website is a free planner, it includes calendars, pictures, gift lists and more, everything you might stick to the fridge! (as soon as the pitch started the Family Fridge website went down!). Alexi struggled to really articulate what family fridge did. Shaf has website investment experience and felt the return might not be their from advertising. Alexi revealed that he was nominated for young entrepreneur of the year. Julie offered the £20,000 for 30%. Shaf matched the offer but highlighted that he was an entrepreneur not just an investor and would work closely with him. Alexi accepted the offer from Julie.
An interesting start to BBC Two’s Online Den. Some of the “raw” pitches are a little cringe worthy but it is fascinating to see the smaller investors getting the chance to pitch. Since the Den, Marcus has published several Chinese books, the cosy shopper is available at several retailers, and Alexi’s Family Fridge is growing fast.