Re-live the most extraordinary moments from the past 13 series of Dragons' Den, presented by self-confessed Dragons' Den obsessive Richard Osman.
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It has the jeopardy of a game show.
If this offer isn't good enough for you, I'm absolutely not interested.
It has the characters of a drama.
I became jobless, penniless and homeless...
But the secret ingredient of Dragons' Den is that it's all
happening for real.
Real people with real dreams,
meeting real investors with real money.
I'm Richard Osman. Now, I'm no budding entrepreneur.
I haven't invented gluten-free tattoos
or an espresso machine for dogs.
But I am a huge fan of Dragons' Den.
For years now, I've been mildly traumatised
by Deborah Meaden's death stare...
..sent letters of complaint about Peter Jones's put-downs...
That looks about as practical as an ashtray on a motorbike.
A ladder for a carpet fitter. An ejector seat in a helicopter.
'Now, I'm the big man...'
-What do we think?
Is that because of the hair, though?
'And it's my turn to interrogate the Dragons, to see how THEY like it.'
-Did you begin to worry that you weren't going to get any deals?
-You don't know your figures?
-I don't know my numbers as well as I should...
You've come in here, you're on a documentary and you haven't done your figures.
'Tonight, I'm going to relive some jaw-dropping pitches...'
This is the most disrespectful pitch...
I remember just feeling my heart in my throat at that point.
'..find out what happened next to the businesses that walked away
'with the Dragons' cash...'
Hey! There we go.
'..discover the secrets of the Dragons' success...'
It's all gut feeling.
This is genuine, we want to find out how this business works...
'..and we'll find out if pitches really can lead to riches.'
Today, the company is worth £10 million.
So, to make it rich,
the first thing you have to do is simply call the lift.
Then compose yourself...
..then have the bottle to walk out the other side,
and crucially, hope it doesn't all fall apart
when you come face-to-face with the Dragons.
On my first day, I walked into the Den...
Before I sat down, I went to the lift, turned round,
walked in and stood on that point.
There is a moment when the entrepreneurs
walk through the doors...
I kind of feel for them a bit, I mean, this is a big moment.
It is tough.
Really, really tough.
I'm looking for an investment of £100,000 for a 12.5% share...
I'm sorry, I've really lost it, I do apologise.
HE CLEARS HIS THROAT
You've got three minutes to make your pitch
and that puts a bit of pressure on.
I'm here to tell you about my new company, Golfer's Mate,
and my new product...
And I've gone blank again. I'm so sorry.
Um... We also... Excuse me.
We also supplied, um...
You can generally hear it in the voice, you can
hear nervousness in the voice when they first start to speak.
You are looking for that escape route,
you're looking for the hole in the floor that you can get into,
crawl up and just say, "This never happened."
Children can choose from... Oh...
Sorry, please, can I start again?
You have basically got no business at the moment.
I'm not being funny, Amy, but honestly, you have no business.
Um... Sorry, I've just gone quite light-headed.
-Oh, are you OK? Do you want to sit down?
-Sit down? Come and sit down?
I think it's the first time I've ever seen anybody faint in the Den.
Oh, don't fall over. Oh, God!
And I was a little concerned that that would be it.
There you go.
'She was just overwhelmed, tired, you know.'
You can't judge people just because it didn't go right on the moment.
What did I do to you?
'It's not nice seeing people struggle.'
You know, you want to help.
But in business, people don't rush to your side to help you.
-Whatever's there, you need to say.
Clearly, pitching in the Den is not for the faint-hearted.
Or indeed, the light-headed.
When Lorraine and Graham Hatton-Downward unveiled
their diving safety device, Lign Light, in 2015,
it all proved too much for Lorraine.
So, Graham and Lorraine, we are about to take a look at your pitch.
It's one of the more unusual pitches in the Den, I think,
if you don't mind me saying so!
And this was sort of seen as a final roll of the dice?
-Yes, it certainly was.
-Let's take a little look, shall we?
Oh! OK, if we must.
The couple had spent 20 years and their life savings
on the device that warns divers when they are running out of air.
The Dragons were their last hope of getting from pitch to rich.
What strain has that put on you, financially?
A lot. A big strain.
-Tell me about that.
Strapped for cash, it's the last stop, the last post,
and we've spent near £200,000 of our own money...
-It's a lot of money.
-A lot of money.
We have really invested.
And you are both, if I may say, wearing your heart on your sleeves.
It's our baby, and we believed in it so strongly.
And what I can't understand is why that hasn't turned into
somebody wanting to go into partnership with you.
How are you feeling now, now that the heat
is being turned up slightly?
This is where panic, for me, starts to set in.
We had worked out a system whereby, if I squeezed Lorraine's hand,
that meant "Shut up."
And she started to waffle...
Um, I had my first open heart surgery.
I was only in my 40s then...
So I started off giving her hand a little squeeze,
and then it was a bit harder...
We lost our house, we lost our investments...
And then I was, like, pulling her hand, "Shut up!" You know.
-But she didn't.
-I just carried on!
-Whatever's there, you need to say.
We lost everything, Deborah.
We had mental breakdowns...
We were really ill... I'm so sorry.
When I walked off, it was very hard.
I... I completely... I lose it.
-I felt as though I'd completely let him down.
-And I love him so much, I do, and my heart bled.
-You and Lorraine have had a very emotional journey.
-But let's just get to business.
-Yes, of course.
-That's what you're here for.
-Of course it is.
At that point, I'm sitting thinking, do I go after her
and make sure she's OK?
-Or do I stop and face the music?
-I was thinking, oh, what do I do?
-But you decided to stick around?
Graham, don't let your legacy be that you had this great product...
-See, this is all valid.
-..that could have saved lives, but you never did.
-Just license your product, make it happen. Good luck.
-Thank you so much.
-I'm afraid it's not an investment for me.
I've never seen a lovelier five noes in my life.
Thank you very much, Dragons. Thank you.
Don't worry. You didn't let anybody down.
And so the million-dollar question. What happened after the Den?
The Dragons saying no, in a way,
was the best thing that could have happened to us.
Because we suddenly became masters of our own destiny.
-We had people offering to market it for us, people offering
to invest in it, people who wanted to go in as partners.
-Did you take their advice and license it?
-We did. And more!
-And it's wonderful. Absolutely...
-We've got a fantastic deal.
We will be shareholder directors.
Anything that goes, then, into that organisation,
we will get royalties from that, too, and we are...
Makes you wonder why you didn't do it 20 years ago.
It all came from having the guts to get up there and go into the Den.
If it hadn't been for the Dragons, we would be still
not able to see the tunnel, let alone the light at the end of it.
'So, I've heard how the Den can sink the most buoyant of entrepreneurs.
'But when it's the Dragons' own money at stake,
'you need to bring your A-game.'
A lot of people don't realise, and I certainly didn't,
just how real it is.
We have absolutely no idea what is coming through the doors at all.
You're there, you're going to part with your own money,
you've got to do it right.
This is genuine, we want to find out how this business works.
What questions do I need to ask?
Is this somebody that we can work with?
It's all gut feeling. I say to myself, how can I add value?
How can I help this entrepreneur fulfil his dreams?
Well, you could give him your money, Touker.
When a great idea does walk into the Den,
the pressure is then on to secure the deal.
And after ten years in that seat on the far right,
no-one knows 100% about 100% of Dragon strategy like Peter Jones.
When someone comes in and you think, "Hold on, there is something in this," you immediately think,
"I need now to outmanoeuvre these other four people."
Yeah, and I think that's another twist that you get in the Den,
the fact that it's not just about the idea in the pitch,
it's about the four people to my right that I've now got to compete with.
So, you've got to play a little bit of a tactical game,
you don't want them to know...
You don't want to play your cards too early.
And the classic display of Peter's gameplaying prowess was when
a husband-and-wife team entered the Den with a saucy dream
that they hoped would take them from pitch to rich.
-Hello there. I'm Ben.
-And I'm Sue Youn.
At the beginning of this year, Sue and I decided
that we would launch the UK's first Korean cooking range -
After watching Ben fall in love with my mum's cooking,
we decided to take our own brand
of authentic home-style cooking to the UK.
-What have we got?
It was early days for the three new Dragons in 2015,
when they received a Den masterclass from the king of sauce.
And feeling the full force of his tactical acumen,
restaurant supremo Sarah Willingham.
-Oh! That is, um...
As soon as I saw Yogiyo walk in, I thought,
"Oh, this could be really interesting. Another sauce!"
I've got to have this.
Normally if a sauce comes into the Den, it's mine,
I feel very confident.
But now, I've got Sarah down the line.
And I think, "I'm going to have to change my tactics here."
Sarah was first in
and focused immediately on the street food side of the business.
And what's a good day's trading, then?
-Between £600 and £700 on a good day.
-Out of that van?
I was so excited, I was like, "Yes, great sauces, of course, let's
"get you into a supermarket, but what else could we do with that" brand?
This has got a restaurant concept in it, actually.
So I'm really interested in that side of it,
because I think you do that, your sauces will follow.
Wow, I was surprised. Sarah played her hand really quickly there.
It's given me some real good time to sit and think,
"Right, how do I get this?"
Ah, thinking, that old Dragon trick!
Which Peter then followed with a crafty bit of reverse psychology.
It's going to be incredibly tough.
I had to try and sow the seed of doubt
with all the other Dragons, to get them out first.
So I thought I would outline
exactly what the issues are in the business,
hoping that they were going to go out.
I think you are not even a challenger brand,
and you are really, really up against it,
because when you start to scale and get bigger volume in a marketplace
like this, you are going to have all of the larger players
in the market seeing you as a potential risk.
Peter's reverse psychology worked.
The other Dragons reversed out, leaving him
and Sarah to battle it out.
I can't lose this restaurant thing.
There is not a great Korean street kitchen out there.
I'm going to make you an offer.
I'm going to offer you all the money...
for 25% of the business.
-Yeah, thank you.
'I wasn't buying into this restaurant idea
'and I wanted to focus all of the attention on the sauce.'
The only way I could do that was to undermine Sarah
and make a really big statement.
I'd rather pick up dog poo without gloves
than invest in a business that is going to be in restaurants.
This, for me, is not where it's at.
It's developing a brand that everybody is going to,
at consumer level, buy into...
-I mean, that's what it's all about for us.
-And that's the future.
I'm going to offer you all the money...
but I'm going to ask you for 40% of the company.
For Ben and Sue, it was decision time.
Restaurant or sauce?
But Peter had one final tactical move to make.
I would be more than happy for us to be equal partners -
a third, a third, a third -
if that's something that will close the deal with you now.
Yeah? Um, yeah, er, yeah!
-Is that a yes?
You'd like to take the deal? Well done, fantastic, brilliant.
What was I thinking, taking on Peter Jones with a sauce business?
But it could have been so much more!
And the end of the day, it's a lesson for Sarah,
she knows who the lead Dragon is.
It's six months since Ben and Sue Youn clinched the deal
and became business partners with Peter Jones.
Now they've returned to the source of the sauce - South Korea.
Less than two years ago,
they were making Sue Youn's mother's sauce in their kitchen at home.
But with a new deal struck two months ago,
the pressure is on to upscale production.
Having Peter on board has opened up all kinds of doors.
The biggest development that we've had since the Den has been
gaining a listing with Sainsbury's, a nationwide listing,
an exclusive deal - that alone has really transformed the business.
To meet the demands of the supermarket
but not compromise the heritage of their brand,
they've chosen to manufacture in this factory
in Gyeongnam-do Province.
It's their first visit, ahead of production starting next month.
One of the major challenges with trying to keep something
authentic is in the raw ingredients.
'The Gochu Jang paste that two of our sauces are based on
'can only really be made in Korea.'
So finding a supplier that can make that product commercially,
but at a really good quality, has been
one of our strongest achievements, really, in the development process.
You can really smell it, brilliant!
They might now be entrepreneurs on their way to making millions,
but they haven't forgotten where it all began.
Back home, with Mum.
It's crazy to think that we started actually here, from just an idea,
to bring Mum's recipe to the UK.
So they've convinced Dragons and the supermarkets
that their sauce is second to none.
But now it's time for the ultimate taste test - Sue's mum.
I've got you a little delivery from the UK.
THEY SPEAK KOREAN
'She likes it!'
That's the first time we've ever shown it to her.
No idea what she'd make of it whatsoever.
That's a little weight off my shoulders, that is.
It's definitely not the end, so, as soon as one goal is achieved,
there are so many more things that we can do.
This is point zero of a new journey.
Right now, it's all about where can we go from here
and how big can this become?
'I meet the man who's taken his sauce from pitch to rich
'and put him on the spot.'
You give it all this, Levi, but listen, you're not building
this business unless you are an incredibly tough businessman.
'Emotions run high in the screening room...'
Even seeing myself now, I kind of want to put my arm around him!
-I know, I do as well, I want to reach into the screen.
'And I put the pressure on Deborah Meaden.'
So Theo pulling that little clip off just cost everyone in
that Den about £4 million?
Given the same circumstances, I probably wouldn't invest it again.
Over the last decade in the Den,
15 different breeds of Dragon have sat in those five famous chairs.
All vying to be best in show.
-You haven't sold a thing.
-He's got assets...
-Do you value your business...
-..on historic losses?
-Each made their throne their own.
You would make my foot itch, mate.
From Hillary's itchy foot...
-..to Deborah's twiddling fingers,
You know this product doesn't sell.
Some VERY different breeds there.
But there's one thing they'd all agree on.
Time is money, and if you waste a Dragon's time,
you're playing with fire.
You can't come in here and say you don't know how your business works.
Well, you CAN, but it's not going to get a terribly good response.
-Of course it's not.
-What's their price point?
I didn't ask them that.
-What profit margin did they make?
-I didn't ask them that, either.
What did they sell it to the retailer at?
-I didn't ask that either.
-So you know NOTHING about your market.
This is the most disrespectful pitch.
I never expected to sit here
and be OFFENDED in this way.
Is it just me who finds them attractive when they're angry?
Someone else who managed to anger the Dragons is the next
visitor to my screening room.
Ellen Green managed to beautifully pull off a tactic
I call snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Blue Badge Company is a UK manufacturer
that makes attractive living aids.
About 40% of our workforce are
either disabled or a primary caregiver.
And you'll find our products in over 300 post offices,
over 100 mobility shops and Halfords have just placed their first order.
I remember watching at home, and you just think,
"Oh, this is solid as a rock."
Yeah, I listened to quite a bit of Beyonce in the green room,
so I was feeling quite empowered.
-That's what I did before this interview, as well!
And this year, we'll be making £100,000.
That's about a 13% net profit margin.
I have to say, Ellen, I think you're cracking.
-I mean, I think you're great.
-Thank you very much.
You're all over it, you're smart,
you completely understand your market.
Erm, so, I am going to make you an offer.
Ah, this was back when Deborah was still in love with you.
Yes, she liked me at this point, yeah.
You're very good on the numbers, and that's always a good sign.
I like that. I'm going to make you an offer.
If this was a date, you'd be thinking this was going really, really well.
I WAS thinking it was going really, really well!
I feel I can offer more than any of the other Dragons.
Therefore, I'd want a bigger slice.
Touker, you are the Dragon that I really wanted when I came in here.
-Ooh, there's the big mistake!
I knew as the words were coming out my mouth that it wasn't the right thing to say.
-You're thinking, "Deborah's just been so nice to me."
And I agree, made in the UK...
But as you grow, you have to decide,
"Can I get the production all over the UK?"
Yeah? Because let's be honest, you want to grow it to a two, three, four million pound business.
'It suddenly dawned on me that he wasn't the right partner for me.'
-And it's a bit late then, yeah.
-It was too late then.
-Can I stop you?
We're looking at something that says "made in the UK".
And your preferred investor is someone who
specialises in offshoring. A great businessman. Wonderful!
-But his speciality is taking stuff offshore.
-No, it's something that occurred to me...
-I think you just shot yourself in the foot.
And that's not something that we're going to be doing, by the way,
we're not going to be taking it offshore.
It's not something that I want to do at all.
It's got to remain, the majority has to be made in the UK.
-That's what we're about.
-I'm sorry, I'm out.
And suddenly, I was, like, on the back foot,
trying to reel it back in.
You know, that should have been absolute, "I'm sorry, we're brand UK."
-We are. We ARE brand UK. 100% brand UK.
I feel exactly the same.
-I'm out. Yeah.
-They don't miss a trick.
-It was quite an onslaught.
-It WAS quite an onslaught.
I remember just feeling my heart in my throat at that point.
I thought I had nailed it and then suddenly, it was like,
"What is happening? What is happening?"
A few of the other Dragons have just pointed out your key area
is on offshore manufacturing.
Erm, I'm going to have to decline your offer.
I was like, "How on earth have I walked out of here without an investment?"
I think pretty much everyone thought that.
I would have loved to get a Dragon and I was actually quite
-confused about how it had unravelled so quickly.
And so, how have things gone since the Den?
It's actually been amazing for us.
We got a little bit of debt funding, rather than giving away equity
and have developed new products from it.
-And we have also got a listing in the Argos catalogue.
And we're really excited that some of our leather products have
-gone into Harrods very recently, as well.
-Oh, have they? That's very posh.
'So, despite a disastrous pitch,
'Ellen is still hoping to make it rich.'
But sometimes it's the Dragons
that fail to spot the bank-balance-boosting opportunity.
You've just got a brush. That's all it is!
CASH REGISTER RINGS
I just don't see a big market for it. For that reason, I'm out.
£250,000 is ridiculous.
And that's the reason why I'm out.
And while we're on the subject of ones that got away,
let's cast our minds back to this one, shall we, Deborah?
'So have you had any feedback?'
Fortunately, the catches can be fixed.
So will you be able... Sorry, that got my attention.
-What did you do there?
-It'd get my kids' attention, as well!
-Is this a faulty catch one?
-You've pulled the hook off there, yeah?
-I hadn't noticed that one.
I shouldn't have done, though, should I?
The moment Theo pulled that handle off, the whole
integrity of the quality of that product was compromised.
So I think you've done really well. Congratulations to get this far.
-But I just don't think it's a business opportunity.
So I'm afraid I'm out.
So that was Rob and I think he was asking for £100,000 for 10%
of the business, which would now be worth about £4 million.
It has been an incredible success.
So Theo pulling a little clip off just cost everyone in that Den
about £4 million. But presumably that's just going to happen.
If you see a lot of investments, you know, some are going to get away.
Actually, looking at it again, you can see exactly why we didn't invest. I mean, it broke.
Rob couldn't explain why.
You know, there was no, there was no confidence there that said,
"Actually, we can sort this. That's OK."
So I think given the same circumstances,
I probably wouldn't invest in it again.
Now, Trunki, we saw, went away.
Have there been other opportunities there that, when you look back,
you genuinely think, "Actually, I would have liked to have worked
"with that person or that product"?
Erm, no, only because
I'm not a look-backer and I'm not a regretter.
I do whatever it takes in the Den to win an investment.
And if I don't win it, then so be it.
You know, that's... I mean, there have been some great successes.
There's been Tangle Tease, you know? We missed that one.
Everybody says, "Well, what about Reggae Reggae Sauce?"
Well, you know, I wasn't interested in Reggae Reggae Sauce.
But I think that's more to do with me. I just... I'm not a regretter.
Is Peter quite smug about Reggae Reggae Sauce?
Yeah. But I'm going to take his Reggae Reggae Sauce
and I'm going to raise him one GripIt Fixing.
'So, fighting talk from Deborah Meaden.
'Will she really trump Peter?'
GripIt was an innovative wall-fixing product.
And the Dragons were gripped by it the moment
an 18-year-old Jordan Daykin entered the Den.
GripIt Fixings are a new universal plasterboard fixing solution...
..holding loads of up to 180 kilos per fixing.
We have a full UK patent.
As soon as I saw GripIt as a product,
I was actually immediately interested.
But the magical moment for me
is when you get a great product with a great person.
And Jordan was very good from the start.
What's your background? How did you come up with this widget?
Erm, I was 13 at the time, it was me and my grandad and we went
down to Wickes and bought every fixing you could think of.
And we couldn't find a solution. So, we went into the shed
and came up with a prototype of this out of nylon.
-What, so, a real inventor's shed at the bottom of the garden?
-And that's where it came from.
-Can I just have a quick look at that radiator?
It was a great start for the teenage entrepreneur.
But his chances of investment very nearly collapsed.
Peter pulled the radiator off the wall.
-Why did it break so easily there, then?
Most other entrepreneurs would have at least faltered.
And Jordan did not falter.
He carried on as if life was perfectly normal.
-You've sold how many millions?
-Up to now, just over 200,000 units.
-At what price?
-Wholesale price is 32p, on average.
So how much is that in money?
-In money, we've turned over 78,000 so far.
-What's your margin on that?
A gross profit of 36,000 and a net of 5½.
His confidence gave me confidence in his product.
I thought, "OK, he knows his stuff. I'm not worried any more."
So...I'm going to offer you all of the money.
And I want...
30% of the business.
Inside, my heart's going and I'm thinking,
("This is mine, this is mine.
("Please let this be mine.")
Thanks for the offer.
Would you be willing to meet me halfway at 25%?
-meeting you halfway...
..would be a good demonstration to both of us...
..starting on a very good foot in our business relationship.
-So, I'm very happy to meet you halfway.
-Great, well, I'd like to accept your offer.
Jordan was mine. You know?
He was, absolutely, we were right for each other.
A year on and Deborah and Jordan are still very much a business item.
And it's the perfect partnership to grow the young
entrepreneur from pitch to rich.
A very warm welcome to GripIt HQ.
Today, they're filming an interview for a shopping channel that
could mean big business for Jordan and Deborah.
See, this single conversation is
probably going to make them millions.
It's infuriating, isn't it?
Debra, Jordan, finished selling? Well done, you can relax.
We haven't finished selling.
You never finish selling! What are you saying?
SHE LAUGHS Of course, just take your time...
Of course, for the TV show,
when you invest, that's the climax of the show.
Take us through just very briefly what happens next.
It was straight into business,
so we went and obviously got our first unit.
Which we have now tripled. Erm, and then we got into Wickes.
-Deborah gets closely involved in all this kind of stuff?
And you've just invested some more money, is that right?
Oh, well, I have, actually.
One of the issues with new businesses, particularly start-ups,
is that they've got no trading history,
so banks are a little bit reluctant to lend them cash.
-And they need working capital. They are growing and they need to buy all that equipment
we've been looking at. I mean, that is expensive kit.
-How much did you pick up?
North of half a million.
That's down the back of the sofa money for you, though, isn't it?
-My favourite thing about
being down here is that you've got a stress tester.
I presume you can put weights on, which I would like to have a go on.
-Only because, in the Den, Peter pulled it off the wall.
-Oh, he did!
Which funnily enough, has probably cost him millions of pounds...
-Absolutely, thank you, Mr Jones!
-..is the truth.
Tell you what, if it doesn't hold my weight, 1% of the business.
-Don't you think, Deborah?
-How confident are you?
Do the two of you need a little chat? SHE LAUGHS
Can we go to the back of the room?
Yes, go to the back of the room. Take your time.
'Time to put Jordan's professional reputation to the test -
'a radiator held up purely with his fixings against the mass of my lithe six feet, seven inches frame.'
Tell my children I love them.
And also, I would like Sue Barker to take over from me on Pointless.
THEY LAUGH OK, here we go...
'Nowhere on the packaging had I seen guarantees that it could hold this payload.'
SHE LAUGHS You know, if I die, you're dying too.
I know, I know! Well, that's the confidence I have.
-Hey! There we go! Jordan, I am in.
-There you go.
-I am in.
So, I've either proved that the product works or my 5-2 diet works.
But I survived. Lucky escape there for Sue Barker.
Now, it's time to put the pressure on Deborah and tackle
that dirty word, "money".
Now, you've made a fortune before, of course.
You've been on that journey.
He's right at the beginning of that journey.
You know what's ahead of him,
-if he works hard.
-This is the bit I love. This is why I do it, you know,
I don't have to invest. I don't need more businesses.
What Jordan's doing, which is starting with nothing
..what I think is going to be a massive business.
Well, crassly, how massive could this business become?
What sort of money could this business make?
Well, we've recently done a funding round.
It's already probably worth close on £10 million.
So your stake, it's worth £2.5 million, after about a year.
Poor Peter Jones, tearing that radiator off the wall. It cost him £2.5 million!
And this is, we're at the beginning of the journey.
-So, it could go...
-Oh, it WILL go...
-Much, much, much, much bigger.
-Yeah. I'm trying not to look smug.
-THEY LAUGH You failed.
So Peter's loss was Deborah and Jordan's gain.
And with the future in fixings looking so bright,
I couldn't resist going back to where it all started -
Jordan's grandfather's shed.
-I see it up ahead of me.
-This is Stan.
-Richard, this is Stan.
-How lovely to meet you!
-This is where it all happened.
-So, yeah, this is it.
Jordan, do you remember those early days? The early prototypes?
Definitely, yeah. This is where we first started.
It was literally just cutting out of cardboard, just in drawing pins, to prove the mechanism.
But at the time it was never going to be a business.
And I don't think we ever thought about it like that.
-Not at the beginning, no.
-Well, I was just talking to Deborah
and she was saying, even now, today, the company's worth £10 million.
How does that sit with you? What do you think about when that occurs to you?
Well, first of all, I didn't know until you told me!
But on reflection,
-it's going to the right guy.
-Isn't it, though?
-I shouldn't have told him that, Jordan, should I?
-Isn't it incredible, something little like that can just change lives?
He's a good man, isn't he?
Still to come...
I meet the man who pulled off the Den's most memorable turnaround.
Unbelievable. One minute, I was down there and couldn't get any lower,
the next minute, I'm thinking, "Oh, my God!"
Nothing like Jamaican champagne!
'And Yogiyo get the ultimate advice in how to go from pitch to rich.'
It's not about the product. It is about you.
But first, no-one likes being the new kid in class.
And when your head boy and head girl are Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden,
you should definitely play nicely.
I think you've probably gathered, I really like it. I really like you.
I think I could work extremely well with you.
I, stood in your shoes, wouldn't pick those two Dragons.
And the reason I wouldn't is cos they both do the same thing.
They can both get you into Sainsbury's or
they can both get you into the big retailers.
You actually need one of them that will get you into the retailers
and one of them that will open up other channels.
Sarah, Peter and I don't have at all similar businesses.
-But John wants to get into Sainsbury's.
-And many other stores.
And I have phenomenal contacts in bars and pubs and clubs
and restaurants, as I own a few
and have worked in them for years and years and years.
They didn't like that one bit.
Ooh, they didn't, I know! I cringe actually, when I sit and watch it!
But that's what you have to do, right? You have to
because you genuinely want to get some of these investments.
The reality is that at some point you've got to put your foot down.
Yeah, watching back, you look surprised at how forceful you were.
Yeah, sometimes stuff comes out of my mouth and then after
-I think, "Did I say that?"
-I sense that. I do sense that.
So what are your tactics, when someone comes in and you hear
something interesting, what's going through your mind?
I think what happens is,
you start by unpicking the business.
So at this point, I always do this, cos I sit on the end chair.
At this point, you're collaborating. And you're a team.
We all have very different areas of expertise,
we all look at things from a completely different angle.
You learn a lot in the process. It's magic. I love that.
And then, as it unfolds,
that it's actually quite a good business,
that's when the poker game starts.
Yeah, well, you can see everyone having little sidelong glances, thinking
-"Who else has spotted this?"
And that took me a while. Actually, I didn't get that.
And I hadn't worked that out before I went into the Den.
That one, we've just seen, I didn't win that. You know?
He still went with Deborah and Peter!
Even though I'd stood up and said...
-You won the battle but lost the war in that one, didn't you?
You just need to win the war.
When Dragons go into battle, the Den really heats up.
And when nutty professor Mark Wileman walked in,
it became the first conflict between Dragons old and new...
-..that the newbies won.
And once the war was over, the challenge was to find
the right chemistry to make this boffin a business success.
When he walked through the door and he was doing his blowing
smoke on us, it was like, "Ooh!" You know? He gets our interest.
And actually, that's a big thing, to get our interest at the beginning.
Hi. My name's Mark Wileman, or Mad Mark, at times like this.
And about six and half years ago,
I founded a company called Sublime Science.
A Sublime Science party is the most popular children's party in the UK.
And we make science awesome for primary school children
all round the country.
It took more than a few puffs of smoke
to cloud the Dragons' judgment.
Peter Jones jumps straight in, looking for proof of profitability.
In the last 12 months,
what have you turned over as a business and what was the profit?
We turned over 533 and made a net profit of 177.
-We were all sat there going, "This is a GREAT opportunity."
-177 net profit?
I have to say, I'm incredibly impressed. I'm shocked.
And Peter wasn't the only Dragon impressed by the young entrepreneur.
It was when he started talking about the fact that he'd actually got
a really decent business and started talking about his numbers,
that I thought, "Actually, this is a no-brainer."
You know, to be perfectly honest, I'm going to make you an offer.
I'm going to give you all of the money for what you've suggested.
For 10% of the equity.
I...I thank you so much.
So I'd staked my claim, made my offer,
I knew the others were interested
and it was only a matter of time before they made an offer, too.
-I can see why you want to get a Dragon on board now.
And I totally see it's not about the money. It is about that next step.
So I'm also going to make an offer.
I'd also like to offer you all of the money
for 10% of the business.
Ah, brilliant, I guess. Thank you so much.
Newbies Nick and Sarah's decisive moves
spurred the two longest-serving Dragons into action.
I'm going to make you an offer.
I'm going to offer you all of the money for 10%.
The wily duo deployed some textbook flattery.
I'm sitting here excited, thinking, "Please, let it be me!"
It is exceptional. And there are so many great opportunities with it.
It's...it's very exciting.
I'm going to offer you all of the money for 20% of the business.
So once Peter and Deborah are in,
I realised there was quite a bit of competition.
And what I realised was that what Mark wanted more than anything
was expertise. So I knew I had to do.
Can I raise the ante a little bit?
I'm going to suggest to Sarah that maybe, if you got two Dragons
to split this, you'd get two Dragons with two sets of creativity.
Sarah, how would you feel about that?
-I was sat there thinking...
"..this is like my perfect type of entrepreneur to work with."
This is one I don't want to get away.
I'd love to split it with you, Nick.
I really would like to be part of this.
At that point, it was just a waiting game
with an imaginary drumroll going on in my head!
Nick and Sarah, I'd like to accept your offer.
Brilliant, well done. That's all from you. That's really exciting.
We're going to do a ace things!
It was a big moment in the Den, that.
REALLY big moment. The new Dragons beat the old Dragons.
# Duh-duh, duh-duh! # We did it!
I'm not normally one for public displays of emotion.
But I...I was over the moon.
MUSIC: Weird Science by Oingo Boingo
Six months on, and our white-coated scientist-cum-entrepreneur
is still performing perfectly explainable miracles onstage.
If you're really, really smart, can you put your hand up?
Super double smart?
But offstage, he's finding the right formula to hit it rich.
His business has increased turnover by 92%,
with the Dragons in his chemical equation.
It is perfectly safe.
Mark's business is growing very quickly.
And he needs to step up and take that next stage.
And that growth stage is quite difficult.
I've been through that. Sarah's been through that.
It helps to have people with you on that journey,
who can help you through that process.
I think that's where our real value will come in.
# My creation Is it real? #
What they're going to help the most with is just kind of prioritising,
you know, picking the best 20 things to do.
Not me just picking, like, the 5,000 things
that I thought were cool and just saying "Yes" to all of them.
Mark's business is expected to make £1.2 million by the end of the year.
But what about the other pitches that are on their way to riches?
# Skinny Tan, Skinny Tan Who wants a Skinny Tan? #
The quiet, understated self-tanning business that caught the eye
of Kelly Hoppen and Piers Linney.
# Skinny Tan, Skinny Tan! #
Well, after the Den,
designer Dragon Kelly went for a makeover on the brand.
-People are very visual. These together, sort of, it works.
And since then, they've had a celeb-filled launch party for their new-look product.
My invite was clearly lost in the post!
And now, it's gracing the shelves
of one of the biggest pharmacy chains in the UK.
They're expecting to make
£2.5 million this year.
And what about Scott Cupit and his dance class company, Swing Patrol?
JAZZ MUSIC PLAYS
He jive-talked the Dragons and sashayed away
with a strictly exclusive deal with Deborah.
Since then, turnover has increased 25%.
I don't love numbers.
I love what numbers tell me about a business.
And they're now in the history books for breaking the world record
for the largest number of people dancing the Charleston.
JAZZ MUSIC PLAYS
So if you fancy dancing away with the Dragons' cash,
there are some clear rules to follow.
Nail your presentation, know your numbers
and, for goodness' sake, keep your cool.
But of course, the rule with rules
is that there is always an exception.
And this one walked out of the Den a winner.
Hello, guys. I'm Ross Mendham,
Managing Director of Barenaked Foods.
When I was younger...
Ross Mendham is arguably the biggest comeback kid in Den history.
You can see the sweat kind of starting now.
He came looking for investment in his gluten-free noodle range.
When you said two minutes, how many do you actually mean?
I usually do this in two minutes.
When he got his noodles in a twist
over whether his product was actually gluten-free or not,
it quickly went spiralling down the pan.
-You say they're gluten-free?
-Um, but you say they've got oatmeal in them?
-Is it a gluten-free...?
-It's oatmeal flour.
Um, oatmeal flour has shown it doesn't have gluten in.
But sometimes it mimics,
um, gluten-like symptoms.
I think you're wrong cos I actually have a gluten allergy.
It really was. It was an absolute nightmare.
I can't... If I have normal oats, my fingers will swell up.
-See the sweat there?
-You are really sweating there.
-90p per packet?
-To this company.
And they're going to take... how many from you a month?
-Peter's trying to catch you out here.
-He is, yeah.
-OK - and how much profit would that make you in a month?
That will make me...
You'll have to forgive me. Maths wasn't my strong point at school.
-So I was just honest! You know...
-You've got to.
EVAN DAVIS: Ross's chances of securing
the healthy £60,000 investment he came for are looking slim.
Duncan Bannatyne wants to find out more
about the man behind the noodle.
At the moment, how are you funding your lifestyle?
Um, I have a fantastic wife, who, um...
-That was the bit...
-Yeah, she's a huge part
-of your business and your life, Kelly, right?
I thought, poor Kelly's at home with her fingers crossed like this,
thinking, "God, you know, Ross is going to do this
"and he's going to change our lives."
And I thought, "I've just... I've messed it up.
"The one shot that I've had...
"and I'm messing it up."
And I thought, "I just need to leave."
-Take your time.
Presumably you're not thinking, "How did I get us back on track?"
-You're just thinking, "How do I deal with what's gone wrong?
I thought, "Well, I could go now."
But I thought, "Do you know what?" I thought, "It can't get any worse."
-And I thought, you know, "I'm still here."
-I do apologise.
-So, obviously, this is something that's very emotional for you.
I want to go back to the question about how you fund your lifestyle
-and you were talking about your wife.
Um, she supports both of us
while I'm getting the business off the ground.
-And she's working to do that?
Unfortunately, she had her third miscarriage before I came here.
Sorry to hear that, Ross.
-It can only get better, Ross. It's only going to get better.
ROSS SIGHS ON CLIP
Even seeing myself now, I kind of want to put my arm round him.
-It's really weird.
-I know, I do as well. I want to reach into the screen.
I...I cried when we had the miscarriages
but I just couldn't contain it.
-It was just...it just came out.
-This just brings it all up again.
Er, it's, as we can see, emotionally heart-wrenching.
-But you're not here for sympathy.
-No, I agree...
-You're here to gain investment in a business...
..that you were supposed to demonstrate had a future.
-I thought he was so right. I actually thought...
-He's talking your language there.
-That's why you came back out. I know.
And I honestly thought, you know...
I think Barenaked Foods is clever.
And that's why I'm going to make you an offer.
HE LAUGHS NERVOUSLY
I was like... Honestly, I was like... "What?!"
And I'm going to offer you all the money for half of a business
that we've yet to create together.
He's given me an offer.
Sorry, I can't believe this.
And I'm like...
Unbelievable. One minute I was down there and couldn't get any lower...
-..the next minute, I'm thinking, "Oh, my God!"
I'd like to accept your offer.
-Oh, my God!
-There he is.
-I just can't believe this moment.
THEY ALL LAUGH
I went to hug him and I thought, you know, I just...
"You've changed my life." That's how I felt.
"You've changed my life." It was just...
Has he changed your life?
-Has it changed your life since signing that deal?
-Oh, God, yeah.
To give you an idea of the growth of the business,
me and Kelly, when we were packing up noodles in our front room,
we were doing about 260 packets a week.
-Um, now we're doing between 14,000 and 18,000 a week.
The company's worth around £2 million.
Um, it's just been incredible.
-And I think you and Kelly have had a baby since?
-We have! Oliver Jude.
There's going to come a point in his life where he's going to
-sit and watch what we just watched, as well.
-Oh, God! I know!
Um, and I hope that he's proud of his old man for doing it.
-Do you now what? He won't tell you he's proud. He'll take the mickey out of you.
-I know he will!
From what I've seen there, and what he'll see, he'll be immensely proud.
-You should be very proud of yourself, as well.
-No, thanks very much.
-It's certainly been an emotional roller-coaster, for sure.
REGGAE MUSIC PLAYS
Now, no look back over the history of the Den
would be complete without this man.
The personification of pitch to rich.
-How are you?
-Welcome to my restaurant!
Thank you so much. I bet you never thought you'd be saying that a few years ago.
-You do not look a day older.
-Thank you very much!
# Put some music in my food for me And give me some Reggae... #
Levi Roots has come a long way
since he sang his song and pitched his jerk sauce back in 2006.
# I call it Reggae Reggae Sauce. #
When Peter invested, he told Levi to focus the business on selling
supermarket sauces and leave restaurants well alone.
# Put some Reggae Sauce on your list. #
But having sold 30 million bottles worldwide, guess what?
Levi's opened a restaurant. So there's gratitude for you.
Now, he said, I seem to remember, never open a restaurant.
-And yet, here we are.
And I don't like to ram this down his throat and let him know that he was wrong at the time!
'But I want to scratch beneath the showman's surface.
'Surely it takes more than a smile, a story
'and a self-penned jingle to smash the sauce business?'
You give it all this, Levi.
But listen, you're not building this business unless you're
an incredibly tough businessman, as well. So, you've work long hours.
It's quite a tricky business. An awful lot of competition.
It was at first. But I think because we were at the stage of
we were the only Caribbean brand, mainstream, around at the time.
So we were lucky that we were in that position.
-So if you can find a niche, maybe there's a...a big future?
But the most difficult thing is to build that brand.
-You've got to build that brand.
-Find the niche, build the brand.
Once you've done that, it's smooth sailing after that.
STEEL DRUMS PLAY
Levi's mantra, find a niche and build a brand,
has led to a business with £50 million of sales a year.
But can Peter Jones do the sauce double with Ben and Sue from Yogiyo,
now they're back from South Korea?
Ben and Sue, we're here at Levi's restaurant launch.
Does that put you under pressure, seeing the money he's made,
the success he's made of a very similar business? SUE LAUGHS
I'd be lying if I'd say...
-we weren't feeling any pressure.
Because, you know, Levi's success has been so huge, so phenomenal.
And everyone we've met...
Everybody we meet kind of makes that comparison.
You know, neither of us are the front man of a Korean folk band or anything.
-There's still time.
-This is true!
-Sue plays the ukulele. So, you know...
-Hold on a minute!
It's time for the pretenders to the throne to meet the sauce king.
SKA MUSIC PLAYS
-Cheers! Respect! Yeah!
-Ah, nothing like Jamaican champagne!
-it's going great guns in there.
-It is, isn't it?
Any advice for Ben and Sue, who are about to embark on the same journey?
Yeah, well, Ben and Sue, the way I've done it is just being me.
I think being yourself is perhaps one of the biggest tips I can give.
People won't be buying the product,
even though it's got to be a fantastic product,
but in order to sell it, you've got to sell yourselves.
So you've got to be on point. So it's not about the product.
It is about you.
And if I know this man here, he always invests in people.
So, for me, it's about you. So be YOU and you can't go wrong.
Peter, you've said that as time's gone by with Levi,
you've got closer, there's a friendship built
and that partnership built.
And that's something that happens naturally and organically
-with new entrepreneurs.
-Well, I hope so. We're early days yet.
We don't really know each other that well...
This is Ben, this is Sue. Peter...
-You got it the right way round!
But with Levi, I get e-mails from Levi
and he just puts "one love", with a kiss at the end.
So I don't want to get there yet with you guys. However...
It took me a long time to get to that point!
-To Ben and Sue.
-And congratulations, Levi!
# R-r-r-rock-steady! #
So Levi has a restaurant to launch.
But I'm wondering what Peter Jones thinks
about this new chapter in the Reggae Reggae story.
My dream was about this restaurant.
It was the difference between a restaurant and a restaurant...
It's the right time now.
You know, his brand is well established, everybody knows Levi.
And what a great time to open a restaurant.
So you've just invested in another sauce company, Yogiyo,
and you've invited Ben and Sue here this evening.
-Is that a tactical thing, just to show them what can happen?
A solid answer.
No, absolutely, you know, Ben and Sue, two lovely individuals.
-They're on the start of their journey.
I want them to say that whilst this isn't the end of Levi's,
this is what can happen.
He won't tell me how much money he's made since he walked into the Den.
I think he's done the right thing. You should never talk about money.
And you certainly shouldn't talk about the millions of pounds he's made so far.
Oh, sorry... Cut!
So I've gone toe-to-toe with the mighty Dragons
and I've emerged unscathed.
I've also seen that it's possible to go from nervous, sweaty,
would-be entrepreneur to less nervous, less sweaty,
very successful entrepreneur, with millions in the bank.
And a very nice car.
Dragons' Den is about dreams
and the hard work you need to make those dreams come true.
So if you think you've got what it takes to face the Dragons,
perhaps you too could go from pitches to riches.
# Money, get away... #
Dragons' Den: Pitches to Riches relives the most extraordinary moments from the past 13 series of Dragons' Den, fronted by self-confessed Dragons' Den obsessive Richard Osman. We discover the fortunes of some of the most unforgettable entrepreneurs after they shook hands on a deal with a Dragon.
Richard catches up with Peter Jones to see if, after his most famous investment Levi Roots, he can pull off another multi-million-pound sauce revolution. We see Deborah Meaden with one of her brightest investments - Jordan Daykin, the youngest ever entrepreneur to secure a Dragon's investment. Has he gone from pitch to rich?