Dragons’ Den Blog: Episode 10 Series 9

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

“For the last nine weeks the dragons have been in formidable form,” utters Evan Davis, like a whippet vicar giving the eulogy at the graveside of business-based television programming. But like relationships, train journeys and football pitches, all good Dragons’ Den series must, eventually, come to an end.

The first pair of entrepreneurs trying to charm blood from a stone is Chris and James. Chris has come dressed as a ‘businessman’, while James has taken the precaution of growing luscious nasal hair and the slightly ruddy, wild air of an ‘inventor’. So far, so good. With the Peculicar game cube, the two men are hoping to win £80,000 investment in exchange for 10% ownership. As he guides the Dragons around this Rubics-Cube-cum-Stickle-Brick James starts making unexpected and possibly involuntary karate movements and rudimentary dance moves. It’s like watching Ian Curtis make a health and safety presentation.

“The pair are looking for £80,000 of dragon cash,” says David. Is Dragon Cash like Monopoly money? Because, if so, I’d love to be the banker. “Have you approached any retailers?” asks one of the Dragons. Preferably not while doing those snake or karate moves.

“I can’t give you concrete numbers because it’s not an exact science,” says James. Of course it’s not. It’s a multi-coloured plastic art cube. It’s magic. It’s transcendence. It’s philosophy. “This invention is going to set the toy world on fire,” he continues. That or choke them on small parts.

“It’s the most boring game I’ve ever seen” says Hammertime. Ouch. And so as Dragon after Dragon pulls out like a rat pulls out of a drain, it is left to Evan Davis to explain: “They may have won the affection of the Dragons, but not their cash.”

Next up is medicines direct. Oh I can’t possibly see how that could go wrong. Tempazepan takeaway? Methodone to your door? Dial-a-morphine? Where do I sign.

We are then treated – and I use the word loosely – to the sight of a woman in her knickers sweating away on a series of exercise equipment. Apparently it’s an octathlon, coming from the Latin ‘octo’ for ‘lycra’.  “Honestly, most people in the gym are fed up and bored,” she pitches. Wow. Way to attract the investment of a gym owner. Unsurprisingly, she goes home empty-handed.

Now we come to the 25-year-old shoentrepreneur Tim Smith from Manchester. In a pretty audacious move, Tim asks for a whopping £300,000 in exchange for just 10%. That, in the words of Cicero, is a shit load of money. Tim’s family footwear business makes and sells foldable shoes, developed with a podiatrist so they’re comfy and possibly on some News of the World list.

“Can I have a boot please Tim? Can I have a shoe Tim please?” Can I have a vowel please Carol? Oh sorry, wrong programme. Each boot costs £6 to make and is sold for £20. Yet, somehow, despite this mark up Tim seems to be hiding something. Oh there you are: three years of whopping losses from their other, holding company owned by Tim, his brother and Papa Smith.

Interestingly, it seems to be this very family connection that puts the Dragons off, and they wilt away like horny second cousins at a family wedding.

Our next entrepreneur has literally reinvented the wheel. As well as the bra. And the house. In fact, he’s got about 785 patents pending. None of which have a gerbil in hell’s chance of winning any Dragon cash.

Finally we come to surveyor Helen Waterson and her valiant medieval meat. With £70,000 for a 10% share, Helen hopes to bring her Roast Cosy to the ovens and open spit fires of the nation. As you may have guessed, the Roast Cosy is basically a small chain mail drape that you put over meat instead of tin foil.

Helen actually began by laminating her oven blankets. This, for me, would be a pretty sure-fire sign that it’s time to call a constable. However, the Dragons don’t seem to be wrapping her in a restraint jacket just yet.

Instead they are, completely oddly, balking at the £29.99 sale price of the Roast Cosy. In a market where pans and knives cost hundreds of pounds, they seem to be under the misapprehension that a 30 quid cover, with a lifelong guarantee, is too much. Even though that is basically the cost of the 10 rolls of the tin foil it would replace.

Perhaps the problem is that almost none of the panel can actually cook. Deborah is fed by her husband and Theo looks like he lives off a diet of walnuts and Sunny D. In the end it is up to Peter to make an offer, albeit for half the money and 24% of the company, which Deborah very kindly matches.

And so, like a pair of curtains as you walk absent-mindedly of the shower; things should probably be drawn to the close.  Collectively, the Dragons have offered over £1million in investment and made the dreams of literally hundreds crumble in front of their very eyes.

Which is what it’s all about. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to tweezer my baby’s snot, give myself a spray tan and eat some Crips.

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