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Almost half Dragons’ Den investments fail

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A London-based investment fund is challenging the ‘unrealistic expectations’ perpetuated by Dragons’ Den and is encouraging hopeful entrepreneurs the opportunity to present business ideas ‘without the theatrics’. Analysis of 12 series of the programme found that 46% of deals made in Dragons’ Den failed, while a further 27% of businesses dissolved after filming. In comparison, Fuel Ventures’ portfolio of companies have generated more than £100 million in revenue since the firm launched in 2014.

Fuel Ventures is aiming to challenge the false impression given to entrepreneurs from dramatized investment programmes, and is offering start-ups the opportunity to meet with its own investors in a ‘more realistic and informal environment’.

Since the BBC programme launched in 2005, 17 ‘Dragons’ have invested more than £4m in a variety of start-up companies. However, analysis of 12 years of the series found that almost half (46%) of the deals struck in the Den have failed after the episodes have aired.

A further 27% of businesses have dissolved since appearing on the show and ‘securing’ investment.

The programme, which will soon return for its 17th season, invites entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors. However, during the lengthy application process, founders are subject to several castings before they are given the chance to appear in the Den.

To date, Fuel Ventures’ portfolio of companies has generated more than £100m in revenue since securing investment.

The fund’s roster includes software platform Paddle, named as the fastest growing software company in the UK Deloitte Fast 50, with revenue growth of 3,300% in the last 3 years, digital gift card platform WeGift and social commerce platform Moteefe.

With a team of experienced entrepreneurs in its principal team, Fuel Ventures was created by founders, for founders. It invests in entrepreneurs who have the ambition to build a global, market leading company, with the passion and ability to execute. Fuel provides entrepreneurs with expertise and insights in business development, marketing and brand-building through its experience of building, scaling and exiting global companies.

At present, Fuel Ventures is investing at the rate of one company a month, setting aside up to £2m per portfolio company.

Mark Pearson, founder of Fuel Ventures said, “The main thing that entrepreneurs need to understand is that Dragons’ Den won’t catapult you from pitches to riches straight away. Almost half of deals made on the show fail, so there’s a lot going on behind the scenes you don’t see. That’s why we’re offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to our investors in a more realistic and informal environment, without the theatrics.

“Investors shouldn’t be trying to catch you out or trip you up. Pitching should be a normal business conversation like any other – in the real world, all investors want is to get to know you and your business.”

Mark added, “Our ethos at Fuel Ventures hasn’t changed since we launched in 2014, we only invest in companies we believe have the potential to return 100x and play a very supportive role in both the development and ongoing fundraising to help them on that path. We say we are a fund by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, and that’s important to us.”




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