5 times the Dragons lost out on millions in the Den

Here, we look at the businesses that were laughed out of the Den but went on to achieve success.

Love it or hate it, we’ve all sat down to watch budding entrepreneurs and businessmen walk up the stairs into the Dragons Den, before getting grilled almost to the point of tears by five Dragons surrounded by piles of money.

Throughout the years it’s been on the television, many projects have been successful and gained the investment needed to push their business onto the next level. The vast majority however, have been unsuccessful. Most have probably been pushed to the back burner since being rejected in the Den and never mentioned again, but a few have gone on to turn their idea into a highly lucrative business venture.


Manoeuvring around airports can often be a boring and stressful time for children, so these fun ride-on little suitcases, where a kid can hop on and get dragged around by their parents, seemed like a very good idea.

Rob Law presented his creation to the Dragons back in 2006, but despite Richard Farleigh making an offer, Law rejected it and chose to go on his own. That turned out to be a very good choice, as Trunki has gone on to become one of the most popular and recognisable travel products around the world.

Hungry House

Technically, Hungry House’s pitch on Dragons Den should be seen as a success, after gaining investment from both James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne in 2007. However, this agreement collapsed before the Dragons could really get their teeth stuck into the business.

The Hungry House creators managed to gain the necessary investment from other avenues and have since establish the website as one of the most successful multi-food vendor websites around, if you want to find a top quality takeaway near you.

Cup O-Wine

Creator James Nash entered the Den to present to the Dragons his Cup O-Wine idea, where customers will be able to purchase a single glass of wine, in a plastic glass with a sealed lid.
What followed was nothing short of ridicule from the Dragons, who gave Nash an almighty grilling before being sent packing.

Shortly after this television embarrassment, his product was picked up by Marks and Spencer’s and now wide ranges of Cup O-Wine can be found adorning the M&S shelves around the country.

Oppo Ice Cream

This low-calorie ice cream for the health conscious failed to whet the appetite of the Dragons, during the pitch from the Thullier Brothers a few years ago.

However, thanks to a crowdfunding scheme that raked in over £350,000 and gained endorsement from Richard Branson and then-prime minister David Cameron, Oppo Ice Cream can now be found on the shelves of health stores like Holland and Barrett, as well as Waitrose and The Co-op.

Approved Food

In an era where more food is wasted than any other generation in history, Approved Food’s business plan of selling food thrown out by supermarkets because their sell by date has expired, seems like a very good idea. None of the Dragons agreed and creator Dan Cluderay left the Den without investment.

Later that year, he presented his business venture to the big-wigs over at Virgin, finishing as the runner-up in their Pitch to Rich competition, gaining a £100,000 investment as a prize. The company is now a hugely popular food retail website, catering for costumers all over the UK and around Europe.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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