Although investors Jenny Campbell, Peter Jones, Tej Lalvani, Deborah Meaden and Touker Suleyman are usually seen in complete command of any budding entrepreneurs on Dragons’ Den, one duo on Sunday night completely turned the tables.
Friends Henry de Zoete and Will Hodson blew away the business moguls with their pitch for money-saving business Look After My Bills. The free-to-use service automatically searches and switches customer’s energy suppliers each year, which, the pair said, would save them £253 annually on average.
But the Dragons were particularly impressed that the idea would disrupt the energy industry and hold big companies to account, and all five got into a bidding war, which eventually saw the hard-bargaining Henry and Will accept a £120,000 investment for just a three per cent share in their company – arguably the best deal ever done in the Den after Personalised children’s books business Lost my Name picked up £100,000 for a 5 per cent share in 2014.
But the latest deal was only made possible after some lengthy negotiations. At first, the pair of entrepreneurs asked for £90,000 for just 1 per cent – valuing their company at £9,000,000. Lalvani, however, wanted a bigger stake, initially offering them all the money for 7 per cent.
But then Peter Jones followed this up with his own bid. “I think you’ve got a real chance of making this a success,” he said. ‘I’m making this offer because I bring so much value than Tej. I am going to offer all of the money for 10 per cent.”
Suleyman then proposed £90,000 for an 8 per cent stake before Meaden offered all the money for just 3 per cent.
After a standard Den ‘talk by the wall’, Henry and Will then asked for £120,000 for two per cent. This caused Suleyman to drop out of the bidding war (“I don’t get out of bed for 2 per cent, that’s for sure!”), a move soon followed by Jones but not before he had halved his original offer to 5 per cent.
Then, finally, a deal was struck. With Meaden out, Lalvani and Campbell swooped in with a joint £120,000 offer for 3 per cent, which was quickly accepted.
And then Henry and Will enjoyed a massive hug in the lift.