Published: February 4, 2022 | Updated: February 5, 2022

Angels are all ears as five businesses pitch for investment at latest Dragons’ Den-style event

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Five very different businesses made a Dragons’ Den-style pitch for investment at the latest Dorset Business Angels event.

Around 65 people took part in the online session which is held quarterly.

The event kicked off with a brief, but impactful, presentation from Adrian Hale, Smart Place Strategy & Programming Lead at BCP Council.

He spoke about the ‘Smart Place Investor Showcase’.

Then it was over to the businesses pitching with the first – a Bournemouth-based green energy data services company – grabbing investor attention.

The company has spent the last four years building the UK’s leading green energy switching site and is currently partnering with Sky, Tesco, Unilever, and IKEA.

But according to the business founder, although the partners are lining up to sell products such as solar panels, EV (electric vehicle) charge points, battery storage and smart appliances into homes, they face a problem by lacking the data and systems to market them effectively.

The platform solves that issue, providing businesses with everything required to sell low carbon technology to homes.

The business is seeking funding of £1.5m.

The funds will take the platform from beta testing to a full roll out worldwide, allowing the business to rapidly scale in-house development capacity.

Two expressions of interest were made.

Strava for sailors

Next up was a company that’s designed and built a product, described by some as ‘the Strava for sailors’.

It promises to capture, relive and share sailing experiences and adventures.

An impressive pitch was made.

The business duo, with a shared loved of sailing, explained that trying to collate photos, paper logbooks and extract GPS tracking files from onboard navigation systems was painful, at the very least.

The solution is a mobile app and website offering an ‘easy to capture everything from your voyage in one place’.

That includes photos, crew, the track, log etc, which was easily shareable with friends and family.

Traction of the ioS app has been with closed beta testing to date.

So far 200 sailors have onboarded with 25,000 nautical miles logged and 625 voyages captured, over five continents.

Endorsements from users has been extremely positive, achieving national PR and a sailing podcast describing the product as the ‘must have’ sailing app.

The business model was explained as an annual subscription by users.

The founders were seeking an investment of £150k to take the product mainstream and to cover team salaries, marketing and operation costs.

The ambition is to achieve £225,000 annual recurring revenue with 9,000 premium subscribers by month 24.

Five expressions of interest were made by the investors.

Cycling visibility

Next to pitch was a company which explained its mission was to create a new global lighting standard for everyone who wants to be seen, feel safer and stay active in low light conditions.

The product developed provides 360 degree lighting for cyclists, with a lightweight system fixed to a bike helmet and electroluminescent rechargeable light blades.

The founder advised that the business has UK & US patents granted and has a trademarked name.

The initial UK market potential was highlighted as having 7.5 million active cyclists.

The business is seeking investors to provide seed capital of £100,000 for a ten per cent equity stake.

Three expressions of interest were made.

Carbon analytics platform

A business that has created a carbon analytics platform explained how it enables business, local authorities, trade associations and households to use the platform to:

  • Discover their carbon footprint
  • Measure emissions
  • Visualise and benchmark emissions
  • Understand how to reduce emissions
  • Start users on their unique reduction journey to net zero.

Outlining their traction to date, the business mentioned the numerous organisations that they are working with, including local authorities, West London Business, techUK and Community Fibre.

The investor asked for £150,000, with £90,000 already committed.

Three expressions of interest were made.

Asbestos detection

Addressing a global problem, an asbestos detection device that will disrupt the current approach to asbestos monitoring and will be the only real-time warning equipment for the detection of airborne asbestos particles was introduced to investors.

When airborne asbestos particles are detected, an alarm is sounded, and a post-event report can be downloaded.

The current lack of real-time analysis means that construction and demolition projects usually have to be put on hold if asbestos is suspected, whilst air filter samples are sent off-site for analysis.

Following a four-year rsearch and development programme, early adopter trials are well underway, with leading global asbestos consultancies.

The company anticipates launching the product this year.

The directors are seeking to raise £2m over the next 12 months to enable product scale up, increase stock and support sales & marketing.

One expression of interest was made.

Frank Guinn, DBA Zoom host, pictured left, said: “As ever, we had a good number of businesses applying to be part of our pitch process and we whittled down our selection to the five presenting.

“The event was recorded, making it available for investors to view online after the event.”

DBA was formed in 2013 with the aim to bring investors and entrepreneurs together to accelerate the growth of early -stage businesses.

It provides quality, private equity investment opportunities to local high net worth (HNW) and sophisticated investors (SI).

DBA is sponsored by Saffery Champness Accountants, Ellis Jones Solicitors, Investec Wealth and Investment and BCP Council.