Thanks to Dragons’ Den, I have a really clear idea of what I’m looking for in a business investment. Primarily, I’m looking for a fantastic person. An outstanding entrepreneur can carry a mediocre idea, but the most revolutionary idea wouldn’t be able to get off the ground with a mediocre entrepreneur.
Secondly, I’m a product gal at heart – that’s not to say I wouldn’t invest in a service business but growing up in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) world means that products excite me because I can see the potential in them. In particular, I love products where there’s been some real innovation and when they provide a genuine solution to a real problem. It’s easy to see through the gimmicky products and to spot the ones that are really going to change someone’s life.
Take a look at some of the investments I’ve made so far in the Den (and also what they’ve had to say about me)!
Series 18 episode 14
Kate, Matt and their gorgeous kids really made an impact in the Den.
Knowing First Aid can literally arm you with the tools and knowledge to save someone’s life and Kate’s personal story of her brother and why she was inspired to start her company really hit home for me. As someone who invests with heart, I had to make them an offer.
The company already has a fantastic franchise model, with more than 60 franchisees nationwide, and can offer flexible First Aid sessions for all the family. I’m so pleased to be working with Kate, Matt and the team and delighted to be joining them in Mini First’s Aids journey.
Kate founder of Mini First Aid, said: “From our initial application to Dragons’ Den right through to pitch we knew that Sara was the Dragon that we wanted to invest in Mini First Aid. Sara’s investment has demonstrated a huge endorsement to our brand and has opened doors and further progressed relationships in both retail and other commercial activity.
“Sara’s hands-on support for Mini First Aid has far exceeded our expectation, we feel that Sara is totally invested in our business and shares in our success.
“Sara’s profile has helped to raise awareness for learning first aid and therefore the result is literally saving lives.”
For more information go to minifirstaid.co.uk
Series 18 episode 9
Helen is a fantastic example of an entrepreneur and she really impressed in the Den!
After running a successful window cleaning business for 10 years, Helen was inspired to start another business while weaning her daughter Keira. She spotted a niche in the baby market for a product which could help parents feeding messy babies by staying put! She created an innovative feeding mat with suction cups and with that, EasyTots was born.
As a mam of two boys, I recognised what a fantastic product Helen had. Her passion shines through everything she does so I’m really excited to be working together and to see where EasyTots will go next.
For more information, go to easytots.com
Series 18 episode 8
Willsow is the creator of the first-ever plantable children’s book!
While working at his family business in Leicester, Tom Willday discovered that he could make business cards out of seed paper and grow plants from the card.
He was inspired to take it further by creating a book for kids which would encourage them to go outside, plant some seeds and learn all about where vegetables come from. With his business partner, James Coulthurst, Tom made his vision a reality.
Willsow really impressed in the Den. I definitely had some competition from the other Dragons but I was chuffed that the guys chose to work with me!
I really love the message behind Willsow’s books about spending more time outdoors but they’re also sustainably made and environmentally-friendly so I’m thrilled that I get to be a part of Willsow’s bright future.
For more information, go to www.willsow.com
Series 17 Episode 3 Mak Tok is a Malaysian chilli paste created by entrepreneur Will Chew. When Will came into the Den, he had such a huge impact on everyone in the room. His story of coming from Malaysia, recreating his mother’s dishes with his own chilli paste creation and hoping to make his dream a reality hit everyone unexpectedly. You could see it on screen, and it was just as emotional in real life. I’m so pleased to say that Will has been overwhelmed with the amount of orders that he’s had since appearing on the Den. It seems a little help was all he needed to take this fantastically delicious product to the next level. I can’t wait to see where the journey takes us next! For more information, go to www.maktok.com
Series 17 Episode 3
Mak Tok is a Malaysian chilli paste created by entrepreneur Will Chew.
When Will came into the Den, he had such a huge impact on everyone in the room. His story of coming from Malaysia, recreating his mother’s dishes with his own chilli paste creation and hoping to make his dream a reality hit everyone unexpectedly. You could see it on screen, and it was just as emotional in real life.
I’m so pleased to say that Will has been overwhelmed with the amount of orders that he’s had since appearing on the Den. It seems a little help was all he needed to take this fantastically delicious product to the next level. I can’t wait to see where the journey takes us next!
For more information, go to www.maktok.com
Series 17 Episode 13
Flip Top is an innovative fold away table for the care home sector.
The product and start-up company was created in 2016 by South Wales-based husband and wife team, Philip and Lakshmy Pengelly.
The patent-pending fold away product that they created is able to fit onto the side of any standard chair found in a care home.
Philip and Lakshmy had lots of experience in the care sector, having run their own care home for a number of years, and they identified a gap in the market for a product to replace bulky meal trays and trollies, which didn’t fit close enough to the chairs and could cause accidents when left out.
Lakshmy Pengelly, founder of Flip Top, said: “When we pitched in The Den, we had offers from two Dragons. We chose Sara because she mentioned she could relate to the need for our product in the care industry as she has a nan in a dementia care home. We instantly knew that she understood it was more than just a business, it was designed to help people.
“Since the Den we have unfortunately had a slow start due to Covid. Care homes were heavily hit and we ourselves found we had to prioritise our time on our care home. Sara was very sympathetic and even sent a video message to our staff to thank them for all their hard work. She put no pressure on us.
“Now we are full steam ahead and are selling units to care homes. We have negotiated a partnership with one of the top care home suppliers in Britain and we are even in early talks of business in Japan.
“The Den gave us great exposure and our relationship with Sara gives us a lot of clout when striking deals!”
For more information, go to www.fliptop-table.com
Series 17 Episode 5
PipeEasy, created by salesman Teirnan, was a fantastic product: an easy-to-use device which allows users to cut precisely cut around pipes.
He was very real and pulled no punches. I especially loved how when I made him the offer, he just accepted it on the spot. He got what he came for and he clearly wasn’t too fussed about getting a better offer.
There things that made me want to invest in Teirnan. He had done a really good job on his patent and he mentioned during the pitch that he had lots of ideas of other products so using PipeEasy as a base, I could see help him to build a whole business out of one product.
For more information, go to www.pipeeasy.com