Dragons’ Den: Steven’s ultimatum, S19, Ep 14

By Dom Walbanke on Small Business UK – Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs

Steven Bartlett on episode 14 of Dragons' Den

There was an eclectic mix of propositions for all seasons in this season finale, but would the dragons part with their cash?

First up the lift was a pumped-up David Hellard. “We’re all about energising Britain” he beamed, jumping with excitement before entering the den.

The pitch got off to a rather cringey start as David sang his brand’s jingle (what’s that German word for feeling embarrassment on someone else’s behalf?) before ripping open his shirt to reveal a Superman t-shirt.

He was after £60,000 for 5 per cent of his caffeine chew business, Caffeine Bullet. Not sure there are any energy chews left after that pitch, David.

He was very quickly brought back down to earth by Deborah Meaden, who picked up on the non-recyclable packaging. She was more upset, though, that David narrowed her value to only tackling the environmental impact (pro tip: NEVER specify what a dragon can bring to the table or pick one out, they will take it very personally).

Luckily, Peter Jones really liked the product, urging Steven to join him in an offer. “I would do that,” Steven said, “at 25 per cent but you have to give me your answer within the next 10 seconds.”

“No, no, that’s not fair. That’s not on,” protested Deborah.

“It’s my money!” Steven bit back.

Sure enough, within 10 seconds, David bit the bullet and agreed to a 25 per cent share, reduced to 20 if the money is returned within 24 months. Amazing what caffeine can do, isn’t it?

Matt Jones was next, looking for £66,000 in return for 5 per cent of his hair and skincare business for men, Mesoa. His business looks to educate men, not just on their skin and hair, but their wellbeing too after struggling with mental health himself.

Matt revealed he had made a net loss of £248,000 in his first year, injecting £423,000 of his own cash into the business. News he sold his previous business for “a few million pounds” bought him some leeway after that hairy bit of info, but the £1.3m valuation was hair-raising.

“This is a dreamland valuation,” Touker said, getting under the skin of Matt’s numbers. “I like what you do but you need a magic wand.”

Touker clearly thought he possessed the magic touch to turn this business’s fortunes around, though, making an offer of all the money for 35 per cent, which was accepted.

All eyes were on former newsreader Dan Baker and Jonathan Pyckett, who were next into the den. They were searching for an investment of £150,000 in return for a 15 per cent stake in their moveable webcam business.

Their product aims to combat the lack of eye contact in videoconferencing due to the position of the camera.

Unfortunately, the dragons didn’t see eye to eye with this one.

The screen-friendly solution impressed Sara Davies, but the protectability didn’t. It was also too early for Touker and Deborah, who thought the duo would be too slow to get the product into production and get overtaken by competition. Steven, meanwhile, just found the contraption too clunky for his liking.

Last through the doors were best friends Natalie Duvall and Alison Burton with their diverse Christmas decoration business, March Muses. They were after £50,000 in return for a 15 per cent slice.

“When putting up Christmas tree decorations, my seven-year-old daughter turned to me and asked, ‘Can fairies be black?’” Natalie recollected. That question prompted the duo to set up their company, which turned around £75,000 while the two were working full-time jobs as single mums.

Unfortunately, the dragons didn’t think the business was investable. But after Natalie and Alison mentioned the media coverage they have already received and the orders that came off the back of it, minds started to change.

In the end, they wrapped up a deal with Peter and Deborah, who offered all the money for 30 per cent.

Christmas really did come early for these two.

More on Dragons’ Den

Dragons’ Den – sharing is caring, S19, Ep 13

Dragons’ Den: our dragons lock horns – S19, Ep 12

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