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These are the Dragons,
five of Britain's wealthiest and most enterprising business leaders.
Over the next ten weeks,
they'll make or break the dreams of dozens of budding entrepreneurs.
I think this is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea.
You need to think through...
How ridiculous of you to come and stand here
and pitch to investors when you haven't got that information.
Good product, but a great product doesn't make a business.
..I am going to make you an offer.
The multimillionaire investors have each built up
their fortunes from scratch...
..hotel and health-club owner Duncan Bannatyne...
leisure-industry expert Deborah Meaden...
..retail magnate Theo Paphitis...
..telecoms giant Peter Jones...
and new Dragon Hilary Devey,
who made her millions in the haulage industry.
The Dragons have the credentials, the contacts, the commitment
and the cash ready to invest,
but only in the right business.
Will any of these hopeful entrepreneurs
walk away with their money?
Welcome back to the Dragons' Den.
The doors are once again open for business,
and this year, we welcome formidable businesswoman and self-made multimillionaire
Hilary Devey, who takes her place in one of those five infamous chairs.
The line-up may have changed, but as ever, the rules remain the same.
Entrepreneurs face intense scrutiny in trying to persuade the Dragons
to invest in their business.
Only the very best will succeed.
Mum-of-three Georgette Hewitt from Kent is first into the Den,
hoping to convince the Dragons
her online venture has money-making potential.
Hello. My name is Georgette Hewitt, and I'm here today
to ask for £60,000 in exchange for 20% of my company, the Present Club.
The Present Club is an online toy shop,
but with a twist, as it's the first ever children's website
to take contributions towards children's presents.
The website treats children to an online experience,
empowering them to create their very own web page, cut in themselves...
OK. Sorry, there's 5,000 toys and games that children can choose from.
Children can choose from... Ohhh... I'm sorry. Please can I start again?
-You're doing OK. Carry on.
You're doing OK. Tell us.
Well, the website, erm...
Basically, I've got, erm, around 2,500 suppliers,
er, 25 suppliers, erm...
Oh, I'm sorry, I can't. I'm sorry.
I've completely lost it.
It's a daunting prospect, pitching to the Dragons
and one that has clearly got the better of 34-year-old Georgette Hewitt.
She might be seeking £60,000 in return for a 20% equity stake,
but do the multimillionaire investors
have enough information to assess her website?
Peter Jones is first to interrogate the shaken entrepreneur.
Georgette, your presentation was appalling.
Your first part of the pitch,
we kind of got what the club's all about.
-It's a kind of wedding-list gift for kids' birthdays.
-It is indeed, yeah.
You mentioned 2,500 suppliers, then you got stressed and said 25.
-It's 25 suppliers.
-Those 25 suppliers,
they allow you to put their stock up on the website.
You don't have to buy an inventory or hold stock?
No, I don't hold anything.
I've teamed up with one of the largest independent toy retailers,
called the Entertainer,
because they drop-ship 1,500 of the products that I sell
-to my customers.
-What margin do you get?
-A start-off commission of 6%.
-So why have you done a deal at 6%?
-Because the larger products
they don't mind drop-shipping, but it's the smaller products
that come in multiple packs they won't direct dispatch, so...
-So we're not confused, what are you classing as direct dispatch and drop-ship?
-Yeah. So why are you distinguishing between the two?
A rather faltering opening exchange from the fledgling businesswoman.
Deborah Meaden tries a different tack.
Georgette, can I ask you about the functionality of the website? How complicated is the site?
It's really simple.
There's just a contribution box. We can probably see it here, actually.
They just key in next to the products.
The piggy gets more smiley,
and then you can leave a message saying happy birthday, whatever.
-Was this built from scratch, this site?
-It was, yeah.
I had it commissioned.
-So you actually own the source code to the site?
-I don't own it,
because it uses the website developers' proprietary software,
but I could take the website, host it with another server, I...
Not if you've not got the source code.
-Yeah, I have actually asked.
-What language is it written in?
Ooh... I don't know. Sorry. Erm...
Yeah. I mean, my big worry is what do you own, other than a name?
I think because I can take the, erm, the...
But without that website, you haven't got a business.
First, question marks over her business abilities,
and now concerns about the business itself.
Duncan Bannatyne is not looking impressed.
-Almost every week, my children go to parties, and they take a little present.
And the excitement of buying the present and wrapping it up to take with them,
and then the friend presumably opens it after the party
and they see the different presents and who it's from.
You're saying that instead of buying a present and wrapping it,
you go to a computer and you click £10.
I think we might as well just forget about Santa Claus,
let's forget about Christmas - 25th December, just press a button
on the internet and get your presents?
But I think that it's the wording on the poem on the invitation,
it just says it nicely - "Don't buy me a present. If you want to, there's something great..."
It doesn't matter how nice it says it. It says, "Don't buy me a present,
"chip in for a bike."
I think this is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea. It's horrible.
-And I'm out.
-OK. Thank you.
Georgette's first blow is delivered by Duncan Bannatyne.
And Deborah Meaden seems to have made up her mind, too.
Georgette, I find myself invested in quite a few web-based businesses,
and without exception,
the big issue that we've had is not about driving customers to the site,
because we can drive customers to the site,
it's the site handling those customers.
There's a lot to website structure
that can make it work or make it not work.
-So what I'm saying is I don't think you're going to be able
to technically explain to me why it's OK and why it's robust enough.
No, you're probably right. I don't think I could!
For that reason, Georgette, I'm out.
Two Dragons out,
and it looks as though Georgette won't be spending long in the Den.
But has technology guru Peter Jones
spotted something his rival investors have missed?
..I think that...
the business and the concept and concerns over the web,
all those things are actually easily dealt with.
How many people have you got coming to the site? How many?
I have about 200 hits a day, 5,500 unique visitors a month.
I've got 2,000 wish lists. Of that, about 700 that are active.
Do you know in the last 12 months the total value of sales?
Basically, 60,000 turnover.
-And you own the URL thepresentclub.com?
And .co.uk is in your name? OK.
-Were they just available? Did you have to buy them?
-The .co.uk was,
and then .com wasn't, and I just searched every few months,
and then it just came available, so I bought it!
-How much did you pay for it?
What were you doing beforehand?
I left school at 15, after my GCSEs,
and I got a job on the futures exchange in the City.
I was a trading assistant for a couple of years, a yellow jacket,
and then I took my trading exams at 18,
and I became the youngest female trader on the futures floor.
So I did that for about 15 years,
and then I left to have my first daughter.
At last a much more confident Georgette as she reveals
a credible background and the mindset of an entrepreneur.
But is it enough for retail giant Theo Paphitis?
-I like the concept.
-I think it's a great concept.
And I think the name's great, as well.
It's just a great idea.
But I don't actually believe
that the £60,000 is going to be enough.
And that's my concern.
..I would like to make you an offer.
The full £60,000...
In an astonishing turnaround, Theo Paphitis has seen
enough potential in Georgette's business to make an offer.
Now, with two Dragons left,
will the former City trader be able to negotiate herself a deal
closer to the 20% she initially wanted to give away?
Theo's offered an incredible deal at 30%.
..I'm going to offer the full amount of money..
..for 25% of your business.
The drama in the Den continues
as Peter Jones undercuts his rival investor.
Will Hilary Devey make it three offers in a row?
..I believe in the concept, because, God's sake,
I was a single parent, and it was damned hard work
chasing round at the 11th hour 59th minute
trying to get presents together to send him to a birthday party,
-so I'm with you all the way.
..I'm really, really tempted, because I think
yes, your pitch was awful, but I actually think you sell yourself.
Oh, thank you.
..I don't think I can improve on what Peter and Theo are offering.
-But well done.
-Unfortunately, I'm out.
OK, would Peter and Theo maybe think about doing something together?
Perhaps if you, erm...
and 25% between you?
OK. I'd be quite happy to share 30% with him, if that's what he wanted,
but 12.5% each, I couldn't live with that.
I would split it with Theo, 30%.
And then you've got both of us...
-..on your team.
OK, on that basis, I'd like to work for...work with you both.
-Well, there you go!
Georgette has done it. It may not have been the best of starts,
but she now has both a retail guru and a technology expert by her side.
-Do you not love the name?
-I can't believe she's got the .com.
So, Georgette, 30% of the business has been taken from you,
but you've got cash for it. Are you feeling happy?
I feel over the moon.
I thought it was going to just turn out to be a disaster.
What had gone wrong there? You must have practised.
I'd practised loads, but I think the nerves got the better of me.
But thankfully, they saw the vision in the business
despite me actually not telling them anything about it!
-Well done, and very good luck.
The Dragons never know who or what will be coming up the stairs next.
Former software engineer George Winter wanted £50,000
for his toilet-based product that eliminates
a common but unfortunate side effect.
Ever since the invention of the first modern toilet,
people have been trying to come up with ideas to prevent splashback.
-Did you just say "splashback"?
I believe the best solution is the simplest solution,
so I've invented Egglu, the anti-splash ball.
-I was just going to do a demonstration.
-Oh, no! No!
Thank you, thank you, Peter!
In a bid to spare Dragon blushes, George had instead brought along some props to help set the scene.
First, we do one without the ball. You get splashback.
With the Egglu...
-..there's no splashback.
-I feel sick.
Peter Jones couldn't quite grasp
the science of this particular appliance.
It's a plastic ball you put in the toilet
and it goes the other side of the ball. It's still going to splash.
No, it automatically moves over to wherever the...
-What, so it moves to head off the...
-It moves to where there's a vacuum.
-It's displacement, yeah.
George, I do not want to be in a business
where we have to have the discussions that we've just been talking about.
-Where there's muck, there's luck.
-I don't care.
Despite the prevailing mood,
the newest Dragon did provide some words of encouragement.
I'm not laughing at you,
cos I don't laugh at anybody that thinks of a solution to a problem.
Millions and millions of toilet perfume dispensers
are sold every week,
and maybe there's a way you could make it perfumed,
where it was dual purpose.
Regrettably, I can't see myself investing in it currently. I'm out.
George, good luck.
The Dragons are investing their own money in the Den,
so it's no wonder the questions are tough.
Will our next entrepreneur have the right answers?
Hello, Dragons. I'm Alan, and I'm here today...
looking for £100,000...
for a 10% stake in my business,
Miruji Health and Wellbeing,
which has the potential to help to solve the obesity epidemic.
In the last 12 months,
we've helped over 500 people
achieve significant weight loss,
an increase in self-esteem,
and they have a much more positive attitude to life.
The Sit and Slim programme combines the health benefits of massage...
..with powerful mind-coaching audios.
We also have Sit and Quit for smoking cessation,
Sit and De-Stress, Sit and Be Happy and Sit and Sleep.
We've got a special audio for you Dragons.
It's called Sit and Invest In Me.
Come on, then.
-Just pop your shoes off.
-Grand claims from the confident Lancastrian.
By showcasing his mind-coaching massage service,
Alan Sharrock is hoping the Dragons
will be more likely to offer up the £100,000
he needs to expand his health brand.
In return, he's willing to give away a 10% stake.
So, I'm going to pop the headphones on,
and Theo's going to go on a little journey to Miruji Beach...
..the world's most relaxing place.
-'As the door is swung open to your beautiful room,
'you think to yourself, "Wow, this is really happening to me."'
Theo's now on Miruji Beach...
..enjoying the seven-star Miruji spa hotel.
Is Theo still alive?! Could you just check Theo?
-He's enjoying it. He's losing weight.
That's it, Theo. That's it. No more. Stop.
Alan's relaxing taster session may have proved a hit,
but what of the business behind it?
Theo Paphitis wants to know.
Alan, all's I can see at the moment is a nice massage chair...
..and I'm not sure what you're offering me.
The business is...
setting up Miruji...health spas
in health clubs and on the high street.
That business must make a small fortune already,
because you've valued it at a million quid.
How much turnover does it make?
In the last 12 months,
-195 with a profit of around about 45,000.
What do you reckon you're going to do this year?
Erm, with your investment? With an investment?
OK, with an investment.
With an investment, erm...
-..a few million, yeah.
-Are you making it up as we go along?
-No, no, no.
No. No! Erm, it could be five million.
-Are we going to make a profit out of that five million?
-Erm, approximately 50%.
50%. OK. I've now only got one more question.
-Have you got any clinically proven medical claims
that these chairs...
make you lose weight?
-We're actually trialling it in an NHS hospital.
The answer is either yes or no. I mean, it's that simple.
Yes, there is. We've got a trial taking place at this...
You've got a trial.
-..in an NHS hospital.
-You've got a trial.
There's no claims that anyone's ever made that you lose weight.
The NHS hospital in Norwich is doing a trial of Sit and Slim.
-It's early days.
-Please let me finish, Theo.
-No, I'm not going to let you finish unless you answer my question.
The first question, I'm going to repeat it again.
Are you aware of any clinically proven claims...
..that sitting in these chairs makes you lose weight?
-Right! That's what I was looking for.
-This is painful.
A somewhat tetchy opening exchange,
and not the start Alan would have hoped for.
Can Deborah Meaden offer him any respite?
I want to get some business facts, because I'm a little bit confused.
-At the moment, you've got sites operating.
And they are generating revenue?
-Erm, the first site opened just over 12 months ago.
And that one has generated...
-erm, about £200,000 in sales.
Ooh, hold on. Erm, what was your turnover last year, then?
Well, the money banked last year was 195.
Yeah? But when we sell a Miruji membership,
it's a 12-month membership,
so that money comes in over a 12-month period.
So at the moment, you've got £200,000 worth of membership.
-In that one site.
And the average membership costs £620.
Sorry, how many members in your first one?
How does it work with 450 members
generating £200,000 worth of membership?
Some of those presumably are paying at a discounted rate.
No, no. Obviously, I didn't explain...
the situation clearly enough.
-When we started, the memberships were less.
-How much were they?
The average membership now is 620, and over the last 12 months
the average membership has crept up from, I would say, about 300.
So how many of those 450 members pay £300?
the memberships that we're selling now
and have been doing for the last two to three months
on average are £620.
OK. How does that answer my question,
"How many of those memberships were sold at £300?"?
You have this peculiar way of answering another question
that I haven't asked, which I'm finding slightly frustrating.
How many memberships were sold at £300?
Erm, I don't know.
Is that why you answered a question I didn't ask?
The relaxed atmosphere is long gone
as a more tense and confused air has taken over in the Den.
Can Alan afford Hilary Devey any more clarity?
Out of your 500 members that you have,
how long have they been members?
And Duncan can quote
how many times his members go to his gyms every week,
so you tell me, out of your 500 members,
how many attend per week?
-And then tell me how many should.
-I don't have that information, Hilary.
Well, how ridiculous of you to come and stand here
and pitch to investors when you haven't got that information,
because, by God, man, it's your job to have that information.
I still have not got a clue how your turnover's broken down,
the state of your balance sheet at the moment.
You are talking to potential investors in your business.
It was your job to come on here and make us aware.
-Forget the Miruji experience - we're on planet earth, in Dragons' Den.
You would make my foot itch, mate.
I'm not amused. I'm angry.
The frustration boils over as the beleaguered entrepreneur
receives a severe dressing-down from Hilary Devey.
And Duncan Bannatyne, who knows the health sector well,
wants some answers of his own.
-I just don't get it.
Are you selling this...
as a solver for obesity?
Erm, our Sit and Slim programme, erm...
Can I just ask you the one thing, Alan? Say yes or no.
Am I selling this as a solution for the obesity problem?
Yes, I suppose I am.
A lot of our members are losing up to four stone in weight
simply by using the therapeutic wellbeing chair
and listening to the mind-coaching audio.
So somebody pays you money to sit in a chair,
and when they sit in the chair, the voice on the audio tells them
to get out of the chair and go to the gym.
-And eat less!
-Basically, that's your business model. It's ridiculous.
Well, it doesn't just tell people to go to the gym!
What does it say?
Does it say something like, "Don't eat fat hamburgers",
-It might suggest that you shouldn't eat certain food.
My point is that they pay money to sit in the chair
and the chair tells them to get out of the chair.
The only way to solve this problem, the problem of obesity,
is to find a way to get people to start looking after themselves.
A second devastating evaluation,
and a more circumspect Alan is fast running out of options.
Peter Jones is now ready to show his hand.
Personally, I'm staggered you've got 450 members.
So you've proved it's a business that could work.
Is it a business that I can invest in?
Well, when we're in here looking at an investment,
we're trying to build a rapport with you,
at the same time trying to evaluate an opportunity,
and you've come in here too relaxed, not focused.
So I can't invest in the business as presented. I'm out.
OK. Thank you.
I can't imagine being in business with you.
And my life's too short, too short to try and best-guess
what it is that you're not telling me
or what is the exact and specific question that I need to ask you
to get the answer to.
-I won't be investing in you, Alan.
Alan, I'm definitely against
anybody who comes to me for an investment
who can't answer a question
in a straightforward manner.
You seriously need to think through...
I'm totally out.
-Thank you, Alan.
Having received short shrift from the Dragons,
Alan failed to secure their cash. He leaves with nothing.
What happened? I thought it was going quite well at first, but, erm,
obviously it wasn't going quite as well as I thought it was going.
Erm, I was trying to answer the questions...
as honestly as I could.
Clearly, I didn't do as well as I could have done.
So back to the drawing board.
# LIVELY JAZZ TUNE
Following a fanfare arrival,
Cardiff-based costume designer Ali Kedge caused amusement in the Den
whilst asking for £50,000
to help expand the market for her brass-instrument accessory.
My company's name - you've all got to keep a straight face, OK? -
it's called Warmahorn.
Brass instruments suffer in cold temperatures,
and a Warmahorn is a neoprene sleeve
that protects colours and warms brass instruments.
The Dragons have fundamental reservations about her business.
It's for the outdoor market that want to keep their horn...
I can't even say it. It's for...
You started this!
It's for the outdoor market that want to keep their horn warm.
So you're limiting the market already.
Ali, I like you. I love your hair.
I love your watch.
But I don't like your business proposal.
Though she received no offers of cash,
one Dragon did at least try to give Ali some helpful advice.
Why don't you go and talk to somebody
who perhaps understands that market more
and perhaps could, I don't know, either advance it or...
I think what you mean is "musical-instrument investors".
-There must be some!
-In the Yellow Pages. "Brass-band investors."
On that note, I'm sorry, but I've got to say...
-OK. Thank you.
-Good luck on your journey.
To hear from Hilary Devey about what it's like being a Dragon...
I'm not amused. I'm angry. I'm out.
..or to find out why her rivals invested in Georgette's online business,
press the red button at the end of the programme.
Chilean circus entertainer Rodrigo Perez is next into the Den.
That might be enough to suggest he's pitching an unusual venture.
Accompanied by his wife Lois Dutton,
the couple want to convince the Dragons they can make a fortune
with a spectacle sure to wow any crowd.
Hello, Dragons. My name is Rodrigo Perez.
I am a human cannonball.
Hello, Dragons. My name is Lois. I'm Rodrigo's wife,
and I'll be dealing with the paperwork side of the business.
I'm here today for £30,000 investment for 10% equity share.
I want to carry on with the family tradition that my uncle did
in the 1980s.
My business idea is to bring the new generation of the human cannonball.
As you can see here, it's a model of what I want to do.
Here are some of my photos.
This one here, I shoot out of the cannon 25 metres.
This one here, it was 35 metres.
There are very few human cannonballs, so it truly is quite a unique act.
Thank you for your attention. Are there any questions?
Showman Rodrigo Perez and his wife Lois Dutton
have certainly captured the Dragons' attention,
but it's their £30,000 they really need.
What will our new Dragon make of it all?
Hi. I'm Hilary. Erm, so your cannon's nearly built.
RODRIGO: Nearly, yes.
So when you say "nearly", how nearly built?
The mechanics of it is actually ready and done.
It's quite a feat of engineering in our garage.
But there are some things that he needs, like an air bag,
something to put it on.
Right. So, what are the projected figures?
It's difficult, because the act isn't up and running yet,
but we do have some paperwork and figures prepared.
RODRIGO: Looking at per show,
er, like, around 2,700.
LOIS: We're confident that we'll get
-that amount per show, because...
-Why? Tell me how.
We've had inquiries last year.
They paid a deposit, but we had to refund it
-because we couldn't get the finances in time.
-Have you not been to the bank?
Erm, we have looked down that option,
but basically, because we're self-employed,
it's very difficult to forecast figures for a bank.
Lois's orderly and professional approach
to this somewhat unconventional business
looks to have captivated Deborah Meaden.
I'm fascinated. How did you meet?
LOIS: In the circus in Mexico.
I took a dance contract and saw him fly round about here
and land in the net right above me.
And yeah, I thought, "Mmmm!" LOIS LAUGHS
-"He looks like a nice guy."
-A package delivered from heaven!
-Oh, well, yeah!
-It's quite an act, isn't it?
-I mean, it would get your attention, wouldn't it?
Guys, hi. I'm Peter. What is inside?
Is it like a hydraulic spring that launches you out of there?
Or is it air compression?
It's human cannonball code.
I can't tell you.
< Unfortunately not.
If I invested the money, would I get to know?
Hmm... Yes. Yes.
Get in it, Peter! Go on! You know you want to. Headfirst.
-It'd be a bit dirty.
-Is it dirty?
Not much, no.
Can I show you?
A teasing answer, and the duo's easy charm is going down well.
-OK, so it literally is as easy as that? You reverse into it?
Enchanted the Dragons may be,
but will the demonstration be enough to tempt them to invest?
-Can you hear me?
-Yes! Three, two, one.
-I'm glad you didn't go in there, Peter.
Now is clean!
-What's the furthest you've ever flown?
-You have done 35 metres?
-What's the world record?
61, 62 metres.
So you're halfway to a world record.
Right. Rodrigo, obviously hugely talented.
This is not an investable business.
It's a vocation, it's a passion.
But is a magic inside. My art is a magic.
It is magic, and I wish you the best for the magic.
But it's not for me, so I'm afraid I'm out.
The mood quickly changes as Theo Paphitis
brings the Den back to business reality.
And it looks like Deborah Meaden is ready to have her say, too.
Let me tell you where I am. I think it's completely unscaleable.
And it's obviously unscaleable, because it's you, it's your skill,
it's what you do, and I'm sure human cannons don't grow on trees,
which is great for you as individuals,
but for me as an investor it's never going to be huge.
Good luck, but I'm out.
Lois, Rodrigo, I could see you being booked for 2,700 for an event.
But as a business, it's not something for me,
-so I'm going to say I'm out.
Yes, it's not a normal type of investment.
I am tempted, but, erm...
-No. Sorry. I'm out. But the best of luck.
Three Dragons out in quick succession.
Now all that remains is for Hilary Devey to show her hand.
I don't think I could live with myself if anything happened to you.
Every time you do it, I'd be on the phone to Lois.
"Is he all right? Is he all right?" You know?
And I just don't think I could sleep at night.
So unfortunately, I've got to say I'm out.
Thank you. OK. Thank you.
-And stay safe!
I will. Thank you.
A disappointing end for Rodrigo and Lois.
They leave with the Dragons' good wishes but not their cash.
Other entrepreneurs who tried and failed in the Den
included Somerset-based bricklayer foreman Paul Watts.
He wanted £50,000 for his invention
aimed at reducing harmful dust at building sites.
Paul was on the receiving end of some tough cross-examination
from the Dragons.
What makes you think that if I invested £50,000,
I would get a return?
My product is a preferred item.
It's not a preferred item, because you've sold 250 of them.
What's the total size of your market?
My research for firms was 180,000. I would imagine they would have one each.
So if you hit 1% of that marketplace,
1,800 units of your product sold,
an average margin of about £5.
-It wouldn't be that good, would it?
Hilary Devey quickly did her sums and came to a startling conclusion.
Because it would take me 25 years to recoup my investment,
I've got to say I'm out.
Good product, but a great product doesn't make a business,
-and that's the reason why I'm out.
-OK, thank you very much.
Former singer Nola Baldwin asked the Dragons for a £75,000 investment
in her kitchenware brand.
A Gloven is a flexible oven glove. It protects you up to 250 degrees.
One of my strap lines is "I'm really love'n my Gloven,"
and I hope that you will love the Gloven too.
It certainly wasn't love at first sight for Duncan Bannatyne.
How did you come up with the name Gloven?
-Just a minute, just a minute.
But it's not a cross between a glove and an oven.
See, I was in the supermarket the other day,
and I bought some takeaway food.
-I used a spork, which is a cross between a spoon and a fork.
-Yes, I've seen those.
When you have a cross, you join the name.
But yours is two separate things. It's not a cross between them.
-What are you on about, Duncan?
-I think it's silly.
I completely disagree with Duncan.
The ONLY thing that I like about this is the name.
A lot of people think that when they've come up with a good name,
that that's enough, and it isn't.
In the end, it was Hilary Devey who had the final word.
It's not going to make you a lot of profit, love.
For that reason, I'm out.
Next to face the Dragons is Chris Hopkins,
whose company has capitalised on government support for solar power.
Will the former bodybuilder from West Yorkshire
get a good reception in the Den?
My name's Chris Hopkins, managing director of Ploughcroft.
I'm here today to ask for £120,000
for 10% in my business.
You've heard that money doesn't grow on trees, which is true,
but I'm here to show you that money CAN grow on rooftops
around the UK on domestic homes
thanks to Feed-In Tariff.
The Feed-In Tariff works like this.
Ploughcroft would install these solar panels on a domestic home's roof.
The daylight comes out of the sky,
it's absorbed by the panels, turned into electricity...
goes through the house to the energy-generating company.
The energy-generating company then pays that homeowner the tariff.
A system that Ploughcroft installs we sell to the homeowner
at between £12,000 to £14,000.
That domestic-home owner will get £1,600 estimated per year
guaranteed for 25 years, and it's tax-free.
So why is a Ploughcroft proposition such an investment?
First of all, we've already done 5,000 of these installs across the UK.
I think this is a fantastic opportunity
to invest in a company which has innovated in green energy
and is recognised as leading the solar-roofing revolution. Thank you.
A topical pitch by the perky roofer from Halifax.
In business, timing is everything, and Chris believes
a cash injection of £120,000 in exchange for 10% equity
will turn his solar-panel company into a national brand.
But it looks like Deborah Meaden has something on her mind.
-Hello, I'm Deborah.
-Just so you know, I've got that installation,
and I've got a company that supplies these.
-I probably need to declare that.
-It doesn't count me out.
It could be interesting to find a partner working elsewhere.
-And it's actually quite simple.
If you've got any money sitting in a bank earning tuppence,
take it out of the bank, put 16 panels on your roof
and you will earn 10%, tax-free.
Correct. Exactly correct.
So have you got the relationships already with the panel suppliers?
An exclusive contract with Plumb Centre in their 500 branches across the UK,
so anybody who buys solar panels from them,
we will install it for a fixed price.
How big is the territory you're working in at the moment?
For homeowners, Yorkshire and Lancashire.
But I need to ramp it up and get six more branches - one in Exeter,
one in Southampton, Guildford,
Lichfield... Might be seven, actually. ..Cardiff and Milton Keynes.
Next week I'm in DEC to see the energy minister,
to discuss feed-in tariffs and the Green Deal.
-Sorry, I'm getting carried away, but I'm so excited.
My influence will be phenomenal in the next 12 months. I just need help to get there.
An encouraging start for Chris
as Deborah Meaden immediately validates his pitch.
Duncan Bannatyne is eager to delve deep into the company finances.
-Let's talk about your last three years' accounts.
1.9 million turnover with 200,000 profit.
Next year was the year that we hit the recession.
We turned over 1.2 million
and we lost £200,000.
The following year was the year that Feed-In Tariff was brought in,
so we did 2.6 million turnover
-with £175,000 profit.
-What's the projection for the year you're in now?
-Five million turnover, with...
-Yes, it is.
The renewable energy market is growing at 1,000% this year.
-Profit September this year 600,000.
Now, you're going to make £600,000 profit, which is a really good profit.
Why do you need £120,000 of my money?
Borrow it from the bank, the bank aren't going to give me any help, any help me with marketing.
I've run this business 14 years
and I've never experienced growth at this rate.
This market is booming.
The next year's projections after this year is 9.3 million.
But I need to get Ploughcroft to be a national brand. I need your help.
Assuming those figures are correct,
you've no doubt you're going to make £600,000 profit.
I'll offer you all the money, £120,000,
but I want 30% of the equity.
30%, it's too much. So would you come down to 20% and meet me halfway?
-Will you guarantee you'll make 600,000 this year?
I'll raise my offer to 25%.
-Chris, is Duncan your only Dragon you're interested in?
-You've got four Dragons here.
-You came in here to talk to five investors.
I'll open the floor up to the next person that wants to speak to me.
The Dragons are in uproar as Duncan Bannatyne's instantaneous offer
causes confusion in the Den.
The experienced entrepreneur looks ruffled,
but it's Deborah Meaden who brings proceedings back to order.
Chris, this is going to happen, without a doubt.
We are well behind the rest of the world,
-including countries that don't get as much sun as we do.
And actually, what I'm encouraged by with you
is that you're at the heart of it.
You're talking to the Government about the scheme. I love that,
-because that tells me that you are on the ethical side of doing this.
..I am going to make you an offer.
-All of the money...
..and I want...
25% of the business.
Deborah Meaden goes head-to-head with Duncan Bannatyne,
but both are demanding more than double the equity Chris is offering.
Will Theo Paphitis now choose to enter the fray?
-I like the business.
-And I think I'd enjoy working with you.
-So, erm, I'm going to make you an offer.
For me, it's important that any stake I have is meaningful,
so my offer is the full money...
-..for 25% as well.
-First of all, I'd like to know
what you want from the Dragon.
-Then I want to tell you what I can give you.
Marketing expertise is what I need.
Fine. Can give you that. Move on.
-OK. Help with strategy, because this business...
-Fine. Move on. Next.
How much time could you give me if you made an offer?
One day a month, or one day a week, or...?
You would need more than that initially.
I think you need extensive PR, extensive marketing campaigns.
It is going to be a very changeable business model.
So I will give you the full amount, 120,000,...
..but I would want 26% of your business.
But I would put a team into you.
-So you're giving me a team that would work at our head office?
Chris, I need to be clear. I won't be putting a team in with you.
-If that's what you want, I don't want you to choose me.
What I think, what I will offer, is an in-depth knowledge of this market
and the ability to market and get you out there as quickly as possible.
-It's a market that is in a critical bit.
-That's really the thing I think you need.
If you're going to compare offers,
-I just want to be absolutely honest with you.
What I would say is with the right team,
we can make it the market leader.
An astute Hilary Devey tries to outmanoeuvre her rivals
by offering additional business support
in exchange for a small percentage hike.
Chris has four offers on the table.
Will Peter Jones make it a clean sweep?
I'm just sitting here trying to work out
whether your business model is an opportunity.
How many homes have got disposable income to spend on this?
I can't give you the exact answer to that,
-but I can tell you what I've done in Yorkshire.
-You could get those stats.
-Your business model, it's vital
-that you know that information.
I know... OK.
Because I think you're going to be really shocked to see
how many people can afford to use savings to do this.
-It's not an investment for me, so I'm out.
I'm not familiar with what to do at this point.
-I'm going to make you an offer now
that I think is the offer...
..that is best for you.
The best is to accept an offer...
from two Dragons. OK? But I've no interest in Deborah coming in, OK?
I've no interest in sharing it with Theo, either.
So my offer, really, is an offer from me and Hilary joint,
if Hilary were to come in. OK?
So what I'm going to offer you is half the money
And we'd have to get Hilary to come in for 11% as well.
I'm perfectly happy to work with Duncan,
and I think between the two of us
we would serve you very well
-and serve the business well, more importantly.
Thank you, Duncan.
In a shrewd move,
a canny Duncan Bannatyne gives Chris another option.
Will working with two Dragons and parting with a lower equity stake
be enough to seal a deal?
Right, OK. Take control again.
So would you two consider making an offer together, combined?
-I don't know what your percentage will be. I'd better let you talk.
-For me, it would stay.
Would you come down collectively so it was 22.5%, so it's 11...
Chris, I just want to say, I've made you three offers, right?
And I'm now deeply insulted that you've refused two of my offers
-and you're using my offer to get a better offer.
-It's an important decision!
And so for that reason, Chris,
I'm withdrawing my offer and I'm out.
Well, it's an important decision,
so I think you should take your time considering it.
As long as you like.
The pressure on Chris rises
as Duncan Bannatyne crashes out of the deal.
Will Hilary Devey now choose to stand by her offer,
or does she too feel aliened by Chris's behaviour?
Sorry, Hilary, I come back to you.
I'm still in.
-I see this as a growing business.
And I will give you everything that you require
to make it a home-brand name
and to make it the market leader.
I'd like to accept Deborah and Theo's offer.
Well, that's easily done!
-Thank God for that! Well done!
-Chris has done it.
It was a particularly intense negotiation,
but he's secured the £120,000 he needed
and two well-connected multimillionaire investors.
Chris, well done!
Quite a lot of tension between the Dragons, though, over those offers.
Could you sense the two camps and the rivalry and tension?
They all made individual offers, and then they joined two and two,
and it was, like, "Oh, which one here?
-"Which one do I pick?"
-It was confusing for you trying to work out
-which configurations and combinations were going to work best.
Yeah, but she made a good offer, did Hilary.
She offered extra resources and putting staff in behind me.
I didn't really need that, because I'm running the company fine.
What I need is their strategy more than anything,
and it was that that persuaded me to choose Theo and Deborah.
The end of the first day back in the Den,
and what a dramatic end it's been.
The Dragons have wasted no time spotting opportunities
and fighting over them.
Chris Hopkins saw two tribes of multimillionaires
go to war with each other,
and he was lucky enough to be able to choose his partners.
If you'd like to find out more
about why Chris chose Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis as investors,
press the red button now,
where you'll also find out more about our new Dragon, Hilary Devey.
I don't think it's investable. Frankly, I don't think YOU'RE investable.
-It's taken you 14 years to send an e-mail.
-No. I disagree.
I disagree. It has, yeah, technically.
# I said a hip, hop, di-hibbit Di-hibbit, hip-hop, you don't... #
I'm a bit lost for words now.
I ask you the questions, you haven't got the answers,
-and now you're getting EXTREMELY defensive.
You should know.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
It may be a time of austerity in the UK but not so in the Dragons' Den... business is booming as the self-made multimillionaires return to the screen, ready to boost the economy by investing in the brightest and best of Britain's entrepreneurs.
Whilst the rules of the series remain the same, you will notice one change... the arrival of new Dragon Hilary Devey, who joins the line-up of the five fearsome financiers. Having scrimped, saved and self-sacrificed in the haulage industry to make her own fortune, Hilary has her own views on the products and businesses brought before her, and she's more than happy to take on her rivals in order to get the best deal.
34-year-old Georgette Hewitt, from Kent, finds out exactly how nerve-wracking it can be to climb those famous stairs and pitch to the Dragons. It's a real battle to compose her nerves, but one she must win in order to tempt the multimillionaires to invest in her answer to a common birthday party headache familiar to all parents. Entrepreneurs often take advantage of the latest government schemes and incentives when building their business, which is exactly what Chris Hopkins from Yorkshire has done by capitalising on the solar power feed-in tariff. But when a Dragon knows your industry inside out it's not always what you want. Add into the mix the most unusual use you could ever think of for a plastic egg, a circus act that's sure to go with a bang, and a mind coaching massage service, and you've got a formidable showcase of the Great British spirit of invention and innovation.
As ever Evan Davis is on hand to dissect the events, with further action and reaction available through the Red Button.