This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.
Hello Ed. Huge congratulations on securing a £30k investment on Dragons' Den – you’ve certainly done yourself and Derby proud! Talk us through the response you’ve had since the programme was aired on Sunday night.
It’s been crazy! I went on LinkedIn this morning [Monday] and I’ve got over 500 notifications made up of comments, people liking comments and there are some new leads in there as well. Twitter’s the same and I had 99 unread emails this morning.
Quite a good response then! Casting your mind back to when the show was recorded, how did it feel shaking hands on a deal with dragon Jenny Campbell?
There are no words to describe it, really. I was just over the moon. It was a dream come true. Afterwards, you’re taken to a room on your own. I couldn’t sit still, I couldn’t stand up and I wasn’t allowed to ring anyone. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
When was the episode filmed and how hard was it to keep what happened a secret?
It was recorded last May in Manchester – so about nine months. I was allowed to tell close family and friends. About 20 people knew how I’d got on. It’s a relief that I can talk to everyone about it.
Who did you watch the show with?
I watched it at my girlfriend’s parents’ house. There were about 18 of us – all friends and family. It was really good.
Viewers saw you take in a deep breath as you waited to enter the den. On a scale of 1-100, how nerve-wracking is it going on Dragons' Den?
It’s definitely up there – I’d say high 90s. There’s not many other things I can imagine that would be scarier than going into the den!
How pleased were you with your pitch?
I was really happy. There were nerves initially but then I grew in confidence, I think. I was in there filming for about two hours – it takes a lot longer than people think. It threw me when Deborah Meaden asked my about the company’s figures. I knew the answers but forgot for just a moment and that made me become like a deer in headlights.
Yes, Deborah wasn’t too happy, was she? What’s it like being reprimanded by one of the country’s most high-profile businesswomen?
There are no words! I was just focused on making sure I took on board everything the dragons told me, so I just thought to myself ‘OK, make sure you remember this’.
At the start, you told the dragons you were looking to sell 10% equity for a £30k investment. When Jenny asked for double the equity, you immediately accepted. Do you regret not haggling with her?
Not really. I went in low knowing that they would try and push me up. So when I said 10% I actually had 20% in my head. That’s why when Jenny asked for 20% I was quick to say yes.
Peter Jones couldn’t believe you were 22 years old. You got back at him, though, by accidently implying he’s getting on a bit! There was a lot of laughing and all the dragons seemed to like you – did that help make it a more enjoyable experience than you might have expected?
It definitely helps as it puts you at ease and gets the brain chemicals going. It was great. I thought all the dragons were brilliant.
Touker Suleyman said he would offer to be your mentor, if you lived closer to his offices in London. Did you feel that was an unfair reason to pull out of a deal?
I think with modern technology, we could have got around it. However there is nothing like face-to-face conversation. He perhaps could have said I’d need to be in London once a week. That would have been OK as I am anyway, pretty much.
Jenny Campbell described you as ‘highly investable’. Before she made you an offer, you explained a lack of awareness about Driven Media meant you didn’t have more advertisers signed up. Is the exposure you’ve received through Dragons' Den more valuable than her £30k investment?
Definitely – 100%. Jenny’s investment is brilliant, but you can’t buy the contacts that she has. I got the best of both worlds. I got the £30k investment and I got a dragon who spread the word about what Driven Media can do.
What’s happened since you filmed the episode last May? Have you seen much of Jenny Campbell?
She’s obviously very busy but we’ve met once to finalise the investment. That was in October or November last year. Since then, we’ve launched a fleet of our own and got some stickers on all of our trucks. We’ve also got a new website. That works pretty well although it crashed when the episode went out! We were getting about 500 hits a minute, which I thought it could handle. But then 10 minutes later it crashed.
Of the £30k, has that been spent now?
About two-thirds is accounted for. The rest will be used to help us take on that first employee. I know who I want to bring on board, it’s just a question of having the funds to do it.
You revealed two other investors are on board – each owning a 10% stake for £5k each. Who are they?
Unfortunately they’re no longer with the business. They didn’t see eye to eye with Jenny on equity and I had to make a choice between them staying or bringing Jenny on board. I had to go with Jenny for obvious reasons, but I’m still good friends with the others.
So tell us some show secrets. Is that real cash sitting next to each dragon?
I have no idea actually! What I do know is the show used to be filmed in a factory but now it’s in a film studio that’s designed to look like a factory. The attention to detail is incredible.
You presented each dragon with a lorry with their face on. What’s happened to those?
The dragons got to keep them, although a couple got left behind and I’ve now got them as mementos.
We should mention your mentor Graham Mulholland – himself a well-known Derby entrepreneur. Tell us about the work he’s done with you.
He’s mentored me for two years now and has been brilliant. I see him once or twice a month. He’s invested in the business now and owns 9.5% of the company. He’s great – he makes sure I do what I say I’ll do, not swanning off somewhere. He’s like what Jenny’s investment director does. If I’m stuck on anything, they’ll move the earth to try and make it not a problem.
Finally, you told the programme you want to “make your mark on the world”. Do you dream of setting up more businesses in the future?
The dream is to create a group of companies under the ‘Driven’ brand. There’s Driven Media now, but it’d be good to have Driven Insurance, Driven Recruitment etc. I’m certainly ambitious so watch this space.
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