“Dragons bay for blood,” presenter Evan Davis said excitedly over tonight’s pre-credit clips sequence. At last, you think, some red meat for us viewers to get into, six episodes in.
Tonight’s episode had a baby theme, with an eco-friendly gel for wiping those tender bottoms and a luxury playmat-turned-play table retailing for a very grown-up price.
First through the doors was Wype, an eco-friendly (yawn) biodegradable cleaning gel which turns your square of toilet tissue into its very own wet wipe. Giorgia Granata and the unfortunately named Eli Khrapko who were seeking, um, £50,000 for a 2 per cent stake in their crap co (geddit?).
Eleven billion pounds are spent on wet wipes each year, Giorgia told us, a high proportion of which are flushed down the loo, causing 300,000 blockages in water pipes and adding to those disgusting fatbergs in the sewers.
Would this be a good investment for the dragons or money flushed down the toilet?
Deborah Meaden pointed out that other brands already offer biodegradable wet wipes, while Peter Jones questioned their business being worth £2.5 million.
The problem is, said Sara Davies, is that you’ve got to educate consumers as to the fatberg problem and then present yourself as the solution, which could take years.
At this point, Touker Suleyman got really huffy with new boy Steven Bartlett.
“What do you know about business?” asked Touker, wagging his finger at the young whippersnapper.
“I built a £300 million business by the time I was 28,” Steven snapped right back.
Careful ladies, at this rate, it’ll be face flannels at dawn.
In the end, it was Touker who offered all the money for a 15 per cent stake in the business but the entrepreneurs pulled the chain on his offer.
Next up was Sheila Hogan, who pitched Biscuit Tin, a digital depository where you can store all your passwords, official documents and memories in preparation for your death – and to help your relatives when it comes to the time-consuming process of sorting out things after your passing.
(There’s a New Yorker cartoon of an old man on a walking frame and his son standing in front of an open garage stuffed to the rafters with junk. “One day, all this will be yours,” says the old man.)
On the face of it, this sounded like a strong proposition until each dragon took a bite out of the concept, pointing out that you could just as well store all this stuff on your PC using a share drive such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
The dragons took fright at the predicted £1.6m cash burn the business would need over the next couple of years just to achieve 40,000 paying subscribers.
“This sounds like a biscuit tin with no biscuits in it,” sniped Peter Jones.
Steven Bartlett, who, I must say, is one switched-on dragon, went further, urging Sheila to walk away from the whole idea, which, he warned, could be easily gobbled up by the big tech boys.
After a merry-go-round montage of previous children’s products pitched to the dragons, next to bounce into the den was Sophie Hepworth, who wanted £75,000 for a 5 per cent stake in her Little Hoppa luxury playmat cum bouncing chair cum play table.
Peter Jones was first to jump on the hoppa concept, interrogating Sophie about the £300 retail cost of each wooden playset.
Deborah Meaden then had her own tantrum with Touker as she went through the numbers, where Sophie couldn’t account for £50,000 of cash she’d spent developing the product. Numbers proved to be far from child’s play for this entrepreneur.
Would her baby boom turn into a baby bust? (that’s enough puns, ed).
Finally, Touker offered £100,000 for a 45 per cent share of the business. “It just fitted with my portfolio,” he shrugged as she exited.
Last through the doors tonight were friends Shez and Zane, who wanted £50,000 for a 10 per cent stake in their coffee brand London Nootropics.
The pair regaled the dragons with some malarkey about “adaptogenics” – basically trippy-sounding coffee flavoured with either mushroom or cannabis – designed to help people “stay in the flow”.
Would any of the dragons be willing to go on this trip? (That’s your last warning – ed).
Far from waking him up, Steven Bartlett decided the whole concept was one big yawn. He thought the branding needed a pick-me-up and that it really wasn’t his cup of tea (right, you’re fired – ed).
However, just as Deborah was about to say those two fatal words (“I’m out”), Zane and Shez snatched their pitch from the dragons’ jaws of defeat and, in a testament to the pair’s sheer caffeine-fuelled perkiness, Sara and Deborah agreed to split the £50,000 investment between them for 15 per cent each.
Phew, in the end, the pair did find their flow.