You know how it is when you’re fixing to play your sax and you can’t quite slot the reed? The stalwarts of Dragons’ Den do thanks to Alistair Hanson and his Easy-Reed system. Alistair’s simple device will take the strain out of this viciously taxing musical chore, take the musical gadget sector by storm and all he wants is £50,000 for 25% for the operation. Sounds a bit niche? Perhaps but there are venture capitalists this very moment buried under piles of cash they made from exploiting niche markets so let’s not throw this one on the fire just yet. It turns out Devourer Medung knows her way around a saxophone so Alistair invites her up for a test drive. Devourer blows a good horn while Alistair does the fingering for her and if for some reason I have to repeat that sentence at the end of time it will probably be a bit too soon.
Devourer blows a good horn while Alistair does the fingering for her and if for some reason I have to repeat that sentence at the end of time it will probably be a bit too soon.
It’s an intriguing proposal but it comes with a couple of problems. He has to first persuade instrument manufacturers to adopt his system. And Jock McSlasher thinks someone can nick the idea – essentially 2 drilled holes – and the patent doesn’t persuade him otherwise. Devourer thinks that putting the reed in isn’t all that hard so she’s out and the non-sax players fall like Fats Dominos. Alistair is philosophical “There aren’t many people who’ve got up in the Den and put an instrument in Deborah’s mouth” and we can be grateful for small mercies on that one.
The next entrepreneur facing the Dragons is Alistair Taylor flogging his LadderLimb concept – a gadget you stick onto the side of your ladder to hold your paint pot. Interior design maven Smelly Ploppen points out that professionals use trays not pots. Fair enough but it’s not a fatal flaw. Alistair’s terrible grasp of the numbers of the business though is. He stutters like a pre-Jordan Gareth Gates when asked about his company’s specifics. “You know what? If I ask you what your turnover is going to be it’s a lot better if you tell me what your turnover is going to be” sasses Devourer cruelly.
Alistair is shown the lift which he walks into with the ladder on his shoulder Charlie Drake style before falling to his death down the empty shaft they pre-rigged for him. The Dragons laugh heartily as he plunges into eternal oblivion. It’s a bit dark for Sunday evening viewing but it’s a salutary lesson: don’t come into the Den without knowing your bottom line. It’s literally suicide.
Alistair is shown the lift which he walks into with the ladder on his shoulder Charlie Drake style before falling to his death down the empty shaft they pre-rigged for him.
Tim Morgan looks to be a lot better prepared. His Mountain Trike invention, an all-terrain wheelchair, looks like a lovely bit of kit. An odd-looking but compelling mountain bike-wheelchair hybrid it can handle beaches, snow, mud or volcanic ash with nare a bother. A happy customer bombs around in one and it handles like a dream but as is often the case with people with good ideas Tim prices himself out of the market and no deal can be done. Sigh.
Could Wendy Newby fare better? She wants £50,000 for 20% of She-Icer – her range of feminine deicers for lady cars. Imagine if Hello Kitty redesigned Halfords – that’s Wendy’s entire business plan. Her killer app is a pink deicer bottle with a cherry scent that fits in a handbag. Peeturd Blownes points out that the problem she’s addressing doesn’t really exist which is true as far as it goes but capitalism is based on inventing needs that don’t exist and then fulfilling them. That said, they’re in an unforgiving mood this week and Wendy is lucky to escape with her life.
Imagine if Hello Kitty redesigned Halfords – that’s Wendy’s entire business plan. Her killer app is a pink deicer bottle with a cherry scent that fits in a handbag.
But Nikki Cooper must be different. A woman of substance with a background in law and banking, she battles multiple sclerosis while raising a family and developing her multivitamin nutritional business Inner Me aimed at broads. Boots, Selfridges and Whole Foods already stock her power she-vitamins and homegirl didn’t come to fuck about – she’s looking to create a superbrand.
“I’m looking for a mentor” she tells them. How about Jock McSlasher – he’s a mental? “I know the square root of fuck all about nutrition, doll – so I’m oot” he curtly responds. Smelly questions her lack of nutritionist qualifications. Devourer and Peeturd love her long time but they just think it’s too risky. Pies plays Follow the Leader as usual and Nikki walks out empty-handed.
“I’m looking for a mentor” she tells them. How about Jock McSlasher – he’s a mental? “I know the square root of fuck all about nutrition, doll – so I’m oot” he curtly responds.
Sometimes it’s just not your day and if the Dragons weren’t willing to invest in a slamdunk success machine like Nikki Cooper then they weren’t going to invest in anyone. On reflection we should be grateful there was only one fatality. There’s always next week.
The verdict: No mercy.
Marks out of 10: 8