SME

Published: October 31, 2019 | Updated: October 31, 2019

Businesses are touched by angels at the final Dragon’s Den type pitch for this year in Dorset

Dorset Business Angels (left to right) Peter Eales, Frank Guinn, Don McQueen, James Paget and Max Wright.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Due diligence is to be carried out on two businesses after they captured the interest of investors at a Dragon’s Den type pitch event in Bournemouth.

They were among five businesses selected for the final Dorset Business Angels (DBA) pitch event of 2019. More than 20 had applied to take part.

A Poole-based eCommerce company led the way with its ambition to disrupt major players in the B2C marketplace by offering a fairer and more transparent experience to both buyers and sellers.

The pacey and impressive pitch allowed the fast-growing business – formed in November 2016 – to share its successes and ambitious goals.

The company, which currently has 3,000 sellers, 17m products and 800,000 monthly visitors, claims to be one of the fastest-growing marketplaces in the world and to have grown seven-fold in just the last 12 months.

The business was seeking £500,000 for a 3.5 per cent equity share to allow global expansion, with launches into 22 other countries initially.

Interest in investment was shown and further due diligence will be carried out.

A Hampshire based company, specialising in the manufacture of aluminium matrix composite materials, drew significant attention and interest from investors.

The materials are used in a large number of applications in the aerospace, marine, automotive and sport industries.

Several investors showed interest and due diligence talks will follow.

A Salisbury based company in the childcare sector brought its pitch to investors.

It has patented a ‘jacket expander’ which allows its wearers to continue wearing their favourite jacket throughout pregnancy and afterwards when carrying their baby.

The founder entrepreneur explained how the idea had been formed and inspired while she was pregnant. The first jacket was made in 2013 and the business has since won multiple awards and achieved significant PR interest.

The audience heard how stockists include 91 Boots stores and 48 Go Outdoors stores. It is also available on Amazon in Europe, USA and Canada.

First time orders have just been received from Australia and Singapore and the business has big global ambitions. The opportunity for the market was explained in that 8.5m babies are born across Europe, US and Canada every year.

The business was seeking to raise £100,000 to allow accelerated growth of the brand through increased manufacturing as well as register further patents in order to protect the IP in new markets.

Interest was shown from two investors in the room.

Two further businesses – a workplace practices company that has launched an ‘adaptability’ platform with AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning and predictability insights to produce an ‘Adaptability Quotient’ for the individuals and the organisation they work for and a business which has a platform measuring personal productivity linked to goals – attracted no interest from investors.

Don McQueen, DBA Chairman, said it had been a “great evening”, starting with a vibrant networking session and then stimulating pitches.

He added: “We are always keen to welcome along new visitors to our events. There is no obligation to invest and we would urge you to come along, learn, listen, network and come and experience what Dorset Business Angels is all about.”

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

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

Four times a year companies are invited to attend an event where they can pitch their business to the angels in a Dragon’s Den type scenario.

Angel investment might come from a single investor or it could be two or three angels pooling funds together to support a company. Any investments are in the form of an equity investment and not a debtor’s loan. Investments are made across all sectors.

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

To book a place at the next DBA Pitch Event in 2020 visit  www.dorsetbusinessangels.co.uk/Pitch-Evening.aspx