What does a plasterboard fixing product, a kitschy bar chain, and bike park have in common? Beyond a strong business idea and a whole lot of chutzpah, all three ventures have the infamous Dragon’s Den tycoons hooked.
The crowdfunding platform saw three of the five ‘Dragons’ enthusiastically back these homegrown businesses in what Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang calls a “Dragon-off”.
“This is a first for us, although we’re used to seeing big-name investors, entrepreneurs and even celebrities getting behind exciting new ideas and talent looking to raise money from the crowd,” he added.
Ahead of the pack is crowd favourite, Deborah Meaden who backed GripIt Fixings, a plasterboard fixing product, after founder Jordan Daykin became the youngest recipient of investment on the show at age 19. This weekend, the company successfully funded to the tune of £2m, exceeding its original target of £1.5m and attracting 639 investors. GripIt, whose young founder invented the product at the age of just 13, launched in 2012 and is now stocked in over 3,000 stores across the UK with plans to expand into the US and Australia.
London Cocktail Club
Entrepreneur, investor and personal finance expert, Sarah Willingham is behind the London Cocktail Club, which has five venues around London, and also counts Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc among its investors. The founders of the London Cocktail Club won BBC’s The Restaurant in 2008, judged by Raymond Blanc and Sarah Willingham who are now both on the board. The company has raised £121,930 from 68 investors on its target of £750,000.
Piers Linney, who appeared on the award-winning TV show between 2013 and 2015 and is CEO of IT business Outsourcery, has invested in Dirt Factory via Crowdcube.
Dirt Factory will be the UK’s first indoor bike park based in Manchester. Catering for mountain bikes and BMXs, the company plans to create indoor trails to attract the growing community of cyclists in the UK, and plans to open two more indoor parks in the UK and Europe. Currently overfunding by 145%, Dirt Factory has already raised £436,350 from 543 investors with 1 day still left to go.