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4 Dragons’ Den rejects that have become huge success stories

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Securing investment from the Dragons’ Den is beyond most of the entrepreneurs who enter the BBC TV show, with its famously shrewd businessmen and women rejecting any ideas they don’t see as commercially viable.

Yet new research from Company Check has identified four businesses that overcame rejection from the Dragons and have gone on to become multi-million-pound success stories.

Compiled using data from Companies House, the research shows that investor rejection doesn’t necessarily mean the end for a business idea, and that even the Dragons can’t get it right every time.

1. Hungry House

Turnover (2014): £11,989,927

Shane Lake and Tony Charles appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2007 to present their idea of an online takeaway order and delivery service called Hungry House.

 

They were asking for £100,000 for 11 per cent share in the business. After a strong presentation to the Dragons, James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne offered them all of the money but for 50 per cent of the business, with a clause to reduce the percentage if they hit their proposed targets.

Unfortunately the deal fell apart after the show, as 50 per cent of all Dragons’ Den deals do. The Hungry House website reports that two private backers later approached with an offer of £150,000 for a lower percentage of the business.

 

Eight years later London-based Hungry House turned over £11,989,927 and employs eight people.

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2. Trunki

Turnover (2014): £8,130,038

The pitch was already going badly for entrepreneur Rob Law in 2006 when Dragon Theo Paphitis broke the handle used to tow his ride-on suitcase for children. Rob’s request for £100,000 for a 10 per cent share was met with across-the-board negativity as the investors questioned the quality of the product and the numbers behind the business.

Seven years later, Trunki is a global brand and its parent company Magmatic filed turnover of more than £8m in 2013, despite competition from similar products emerging on the market. According to the Magmatic website, Dragons Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne have both expressed regret at not investing in the product when they had the chance.

Discover the two other Dragons’ Den rejects that have become multi-million pound success stories on page two…

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