5 Surprising Dragon’s Den Businesses that Went on to Earn Millions
By Jessica Truss | Published January 11, 2021
Today we take a look back at the top five businesses that owe much of their success to the BBC hit TV series, Dragon’s Den’, which first aired in 2005.
Since the show's inception several businesses have enjoyed notable success in no small part, thanks to the entrepreneurs who saw their potential and invested in them.
1. Look After My Bills (LAMB)
2. Levi Roots
Levi Roots was told there’s “no future for this business” by Duncan Bannatyne when he pitched the Dragons in 2007.
But Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh saw something else and invested £50,000 for a whopping 40% equity in the company.
Reggae Reggae sauces are now stocked in all major UK supermarkets, taking Root’s worth to an estimated £30 million according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Peter Jones remains a shareholder and advocate for the brand, claiming “it’s one of my most successful investments from the show”.
3. Magic Whiteboard
Said to be Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis’ most successful investment, the concept of a portable whiteboard “in a roll”, has achieved impressive growth since appearing in the Den.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Neil and Laura Westwood, Magic Whiteboard is now stocked in all major office supply stores with a global customer base.
In September 2014, the Westwoods bought back their shares from Meaden and Paphitis, giving the investors a £800,000 return on their £100,000 investment.
4. Skinny Tan
Skinny Tan launched in 2012 and boasted profits of £600,000 in its first year.
It was those figures that impressed the Dragons when co-founders Kate Cotton and Louise Ferguson made their pitch in 2013.
All five Dragons showed interest with Kelly Hoppen and Piers Linney making the successful offer for £60,000 for a 10% stake in the company.
The company was sold for an undisclosed sum in June 2015, both co-founders and the Hoppen and Linney remain shareholders.
5. Mainstage Festivals
Founded in 2011 by Rob Tominey and Aden Levin, Mainstage Festivals offered “once in a lifetime” low-cost clubbing holidays for the 18-24 market.
When Tominey and Levin pitched the Dragons, the business already had revenues of £1.6 million.
The entrepreneurs received multiple bids and accepted Piers Linney’s offer for £100,000 in return for 15% of their company.