Online print on demand greeting card company, Thortful braved it in the Dragons’ Den Boxing Day edition of the BBC2 TV programme, which saw entrepreneur Andrew Pearce, ceo and co-founder of the company securing £80,000 worth of investment from two of the business dragons.
After a tentative start, in which Andrew erroneously put the value of the UK online greeting card industry at £1.6 billion, Andrew gained in confidence and spelt out the future proposition for his business. Andrew claimed Thortful’s revenue turnover was £1 million in 2017 and predicted that it would rise to £2 million in 2018 and £6.5 million in 2018. He utilised GCA statistics to show the UK greeting card industry to be in robust health, and stressed that the UK, ”was the biggest card sending nation in the world”.
Playing to Thortful’s strengths he revealed that £1.5 million had been invested in Thortful’s app. This intrigued the dragons who wondered where this money had come from.
Andrew then revealed himself to be a serial entrepreneur who had already built and sold two business, netting £21 million in the process. “You are a mega entrepreneur no question about it!” said Dragon Peter Jones. “You should be sitting here!” he said suggesting that Andrew was of Dragon calibre.
The Dragons were slightly bemused by the fact that as £80,000 was small beer to Andrew, why he was seeking the assistance of the Dragons. Andrew replied it was to seek additional funding for future expansion and have access to the Dragons’ ‘Black Book’ of wealthy investors.
This deterred dragon Peter Jones, who commented: “This is a very, very tough business to get right and you need a huge amount of capital behind you. I am out!”
He, along with two other Dragons were also concerned about their shareholding being diluted in the future, as other investors got on board.
British British magnate ‘Dragon’, Touker Suleyman also appeared to be mildly insulted on being presented with a Thortful card that referred to him as an ‘Old Dragon!’
In the end, after tough negotiations, Andrew achieved his aim of £80,000 pound investment from Dragons, Tej Lalvani, ‘The Vitamin King’ (ceo of Vitabiotics) and Jenny Campbell, ‘The Cashpoint Queen’, agreeing to take 16% of Andrew’s equity, that will be reduced to 11% once the money is repaid.
It would be intriguing to know what Nick Jenkins, the former Dragon and founder of Moonpig thought of it all.