“I’d never been bothered with Facebook," comments Dolan. "I just couldn’t see the point. But then some people at my company, SJD Accountancy, started making noises about social media and I figured I’d better set up a Twitter account. Again, I thought the whole thing was a bit odd – and then it suddenly clicked. Here was a way to help entrepreneurs.
"It literally takes me a minute to scan a 140-character Twitter pitch and glean whether someone has a good idea. Entrepreneurs don’t need to worry about business plans, cash flows and forecasts. To me, the concepts and personalities behind them are far more important. Twitter cuts out all the nonsense involved in a standard pitch."
Dolan has already received 75 “micro pitches” to @simondolan, ranging from one budding “entrepreneur” asking Dolan to invest £2.5m in his non-existent porn business (“that was certainly amusing”) to another with the username "pickmeSimon" who has 58 different business ideas.
He has a £5m pot of money to invest and is ready to act quickly: “This isn’t like going on Dragons’ Den, where you have to apply, be interviewed, spend months waiting for the filming day, followed by another few months wondering whether you’re going to appear in the final edited version. Even when you see entrepreneurs strike a deal with the Dragons on television – many of those businesses fail at the due diligence stage. If you send me a pitch via Twitter on Monday, we can meet on the Tuesday and get the ball rolling. I don’t want to sod about."
Does that mean Dolan is pitching himself directly against the Dragons” “It’d be nice to get one up on them,” he jokes.