Posted 4 months ago ago
Dragons’ Den is back on our screens for their 18th series, with several budding entrepreneurs hoping to bag an investment.
TeamDogs have taken a look at some of the pet-related brands that have successfully pitched over the years since 2005.
Business owners get three minutes to sell their idea to the five multi-millionaire Dragons in an attempt to scale or kick start their brand.
To date, there have only been six dog-focus brands to have been offered cash for a share in the business by the investors - and not all of their deals completed after the show.
Here are six successful dog-related Dragons’ Den pitches - and what the business is up to now.
Fit Fur Life
Sammy French pitched these barking mad treadmills for dogs back in 2007, during Dragons’ Den series five. She became the first successful pet-related pitch, with tycoon James Cann investing £100,000 for a half share in the business.
Sales trebled to almost £400,000 by 2012, and even the Ministry of Defence had purchased some to help keep sniffer dogs fit.
Sammy said: "On a normal walk, dogs stop and cock a leg or have a sniff and they don't bring up their heart rate. The treadmill gives the dog a workout."
Fit Fur Life is still going strong, with a small treadmill setting dog owners back £870!
Billy + Margot
Founder Marie Sawle would take her black labrador Billy to work every day, and she’d often buy the puppy-dog eyed pooch a cone of ice cream from the nearby ice-cream van.
At the time, Marie was completing her degree in nutrition and was particularly careful about what she and Billy ate. Human ice cream was not on the list of good food for dogs. As a result, she began to make her iced treats knowing the benefits of licking something icy to cool down.
Marie got a second pup - Margot - who became assistant taste-tester, perfecting the recipe ahead of pitching the brand as the first company in the UK to sell iced dog treats on series 10 of Dragons’ Den.
Duncan Bannatyne described the product as ‘ridiculous’ saying Marie had ‘wasted her time on it.
But she accepted Deborah Meaden’s offer of £60,000 for 40% of the business after she saw great potential in the product. Soon after, Billy + Margot Iced Treats went into full production and today, the range is constantly expanding - from frozen treats to wet-dry and frozen dog food!
The Magloc adaptor is a magnetic dog lead connector and was pitched to Dragons’ Den in 2015, on Series 13.
Steve Shickell and Tony Garlick pitched the glass-reinforced nylon connector - which is suitable for dogs up to 40kg. The connector uses two incredibly strong magnets that hold the Magloc together, alongside two claws inside the main unit. According to the founders, ‘the harder the pull, the stronger the grip’.
Investor Nick Jenkins offered the entrepreneurs £100,000 for 40% of the business, and they’re still selling the new and improved design for £11.99!
Series 15 was a successful season for pet products on Dragons’ Den, seeing not one, but two pet-related pitches receive offers.
Huxley Hound was pitched by Mike and Zena Deane in episode two, which aired in August 2017.
They took little Huxley the dachshund to charm the dragons, whilst pitching the ‘world’s first range of fully traceable, organic vegetable treats for dogs’. The product was taste tested by 650 dogs of 72 different breeds.
Jenny Campbell offered the husband and wife duo £50,000 for 15% of the organic veg treat business, but the deal later failed. Huxley Hound Limited is still listed as active, however, in 2018 they announced they were taking a ‘short break in production, which appears to be ongoing.
Poppy’s Picnic pitched as a ‘wholesome, raw, natural dog food’. The raw pet food brand was described by founders Dylan Watkins and Louise Mackintosh as ‘biologically appropriate.
Deborah, who owns three dogs and a cat, and feeds raw, grilled the duo on their ingredients. Four offers later, they accepted Deborah Meaden’s offer of £60,000 for 15% of their business.
Despite the deal failing after the show, Poppy’s Picnic has gone on to be a successful raw pet food business for dogs and cats - and has even appeared on Come Dine With Me and This Morning.
Ross Lamond appeared on episode 11 of series 17 of Dragons’ Den, which aired in March 2020. He pitched his insect protein dog food Bug Bakes, after learning about insect protein as an alternative to meat at the University of Glasgow.
The sustainable and eco-conscious brand piqued the interest of Touker Suleyman, who was the only dragon to make an offer. He said: “I don’t know if there is a business here, but I want to find out”.
Touker made an offer of £50,000 for half of the company. After some negotiation, a deal was struck – but off-camera, the investment never completed.
But, Bug Bakes has been fairly successful, and founder Ross said that appearing on Dragons’ Den was great for ‘exposure’. Pet owners can even try their product out for as little as £1.95 with their sample packs.