If you know me at all you’ll know I love nothing more than sitting down with a cup of peppermint tea and a recording of Dragon’s Den.
I’m never really all that interested in the pitches, most of the time you can tell within a couple of minutes if the presenter’s “lights are on”. I’m more interested in the Dragon’s themselves, the questions they ask, their body language and how they interact with each other.
Duncan Bannatyne doesn’t say anything if he likes what he sees. He’ll ask a few questions at the start, then sit back and watch the way the presenter delivers the rest of their pitch and answers the other Dragon’s questions. Then he’ll speak up at the last minute when the poor soul thinks all is lost, and make an offer. It usually goes like this:
“I’m going to make you an offer. I’ll give you all the money. In exchange for 50% of your business.”
Most of the “entrepreneur’s” come into the den wanting to give away 15-20% of their businesses, but who would pass up the dashing Scotsman? My favourite Duncan moment recently was when he said:
“I’ll make you an offer. I’ll give you all the money, £100,000. In exchange for 100% of your business.”
This was on the proviso that a deal in the States for two container loads of the presenter’s product went through. If this happened, then Duncan was happy to reduce his share of the equity in the company to 50%. He got away with it. Duncan is probably my second favourite Dragon. He’s too broody to be #1 though.
Deborah Meaden is fiery and makes up her mind quickly. If someone pisses her off, she’ll let them know, and declare herself out. But sometimes this means she misses out on finding out important information or a potential opportunity. She operates on a combination of instinct and ration, but sometimes people don’t fit into the boxes we put them in.
It always cracks me up when the presenters come in and base their company valuation, and thus the amount of equity they are offering in exchange for the figure of cash, on getting Dragon investment. James Caan usually picks up on this, subtly pointing out the flaw in the logic to the enthusiastic pitcher. Theo Paphitis is someone I would like to have a beer with, he seems fun, but none of them can hold a candle to Peter Jones.
Peter Jones is the Simon Cowell of the investment world. Only way better, and not such a jerk. Peter has sarcasm and wit down to a fine art, with a healthy dose of reality thrown in. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth next, he doesn’t care to hide his disdain at idiots and he has kick-arse socks. If I was a Dragon I would want to be just like Peter Jones.