11 series in now and the public’s lust for Dragons’ Den shows no sign of abating. It’s the entrepreneurial X-Factor where everyone’s Hymen Cowell. The show promises to “make or break the dreams of dozens of entrepreneurs” and as an idea I certainly like at least half of that. Den stalwarts Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones are joined by new Dragons – design bod Kelly Hoppen and cloud computing fucknut Piers Linney. The 2013 series kicks off with Kate Cotton and Louise Ferguson, two Brit entrepreneurs whose fake tanning lotion Skinny Tan has already been kicking the competition’s arse in Australia and they now seek to muscle in on the UK market. Its incredible USP is that it’s tanning lotion AND a cellulite cream. It just works on so many levels!
Smelly Hoppen immediately calls them on the science on the effectiveness of cellulite creams (quick primer: there is none) but there’s no doubt that there’s money to be made here. Peeturd Blownes makes an offer, quickly followed by Devourer Medung and when new dragons Piers and Kelly make a joint offer all of a sudden there’s an all-out bidding war with the Dragons undercutting each other like moody subcontractors on the make. The girls end up being spit roasted between Pies and Smelly in a joint deal that apparently makes everyone happy.
The girls end up being spit roasted between Pies and Smelly in a joint deal that apparently makes everyone happy.
Then comes Hatechell and Alltard Bogle. They poured everything they have into creating Bizzy Bitz – a shit Lego and want £80,000 in exchange for 10% of their operation. They’ve spunked £130,000 on the company and to date only have 700 sales. The dragons actually like their toy but the couple are stuck in development hell and need to get it out there in the marketplace making rather than costing them money. So even though their product impresses they get the Dragon Dick. To put the cherry on the cake Jock McSlasher says he hates it and wants to kill them both in their sleep. “I’m the truthful Dragon” he tells them which will be some consolation when he sets fire to their brains.
Jock McSlasher says he hates it and wants to kill them both in their sleep. “I’m the truthful dragon” he tells them which will be some consolation when he sets fire to their brains.
The real star of the show though is Ross Mendham with his Barenaked Foods, a low-fat food product brand. Growing up, he tells them, he was fat, which gave him both body dysmorphia and an interest in low carb pasta. £60,000 for 20% is all he’s asking for. Seems a reasonable pitch even if the boy’s as nervous as hell.
Smelly questions his gluten-free claim and all of a sudden he’s very confused about what’s actually in his noodles. He makes important factual errors – he’s sweating and palpitating. Words stop coming out of his mouth. Abort! Abort! But he can’t, can he?
It’s every anxiety dream he’s ever had about addressing a roomful of people in his pants. When they ask about his life he mentions his wife and it becomes very emotional – she’s recently had a miscarriage. Ross breaks down and has to compose himself in the weird dragon lift. Nice guy and a half decent product but the dude’s in bits.
Once he returns Peter Jones blows his mind by offering him £60,000 for 50%. Yes, the presentation was a mess but he sees something in the sensitive young dreamer with his shite noodles. Then McSlasher and Smears put in a joint bid together. Somehow Ross has snatched victory from the jaws of meltdown and now he’s the one in control. He ends up settling on Peter and as it was he who jumped first this seems fair enough. Peter Jones was last seen backing the meteoric rise of indie rock giants Hamfatter so you know that he doesn’t play.
Peter Jones was last seen backing the incredibly successful career of indie rock giants Hamfatter so you know that he doesn’t play.
Talk about emotional though. Isn’t ordinary human emotion the very last thing you expect from venture capitalists? Yes it is yet somehow they sneaked it in and you can’t help but feel a little violated – but in a really tiny insignificant way much like how your girlfriend feels every time you get at her.
The verdict: Cite your last year’s accounts and I promise we’ll bury them/We got dragons like Daenerys Targaryen.
Marks out of 10: 7.5