UP TO SCRATCH IN THE DRAGON’S DEN
THE founders of Bucks business are celebrating after snapping-up a top businessman to invest in their company on Dragons Den.
Buckinghamshire Business First members Snaffling Pig Co stepped into the spotlight of the Dragon’s Den to pitch for investment in their growing business, in an episode shown on BBC 2 last on Sunday (August 7).
After more than an hour spent delivering their pitch and being interrogated by the Dragons, old friends and the Snaffling Pig’s founders Nick Coleman and Andrew Allen walked away with a £70,000 investment.
“Normally when you’re pitching for investment it takes place over a significant period of time,” explains Nick Coleman, the CEO Snaffling Pig Co, a business which started with a bet and £500.
“With Dragon’s Den it’s one time and you’re done. It certainly put us outside of our comfort zone, but although it was a tough process we tried to enjoy it.”
Of course it helps to enjoy it when you manage to tame one of the Dragons and impress them enough to secure an investment.
Mr Coleman and chief marketing officer Mr Allen made a great impression on Moonpig.com founder Nick Jenkins, who invested £70,000 for a 20 per cent stake in Snaffling Pig Co, with the option for Snaffling Pig to buy back 10 per cent of the Dragons’ holding at a later date
Nick Jenkins’ experience with the online greeting card site is one thing that particularly delights the Snaffling Pig duo, given their ambitions for developing the online gift side of their brand.
They are certainly coming from a good place in that regard, with their Crackling and Ale Gift Box named the Independent’s best Father’s Day alcoholic gift for 2016.
In an unusually positive but rollercoaster pitch, the business received some extremely positive feedback from the other Dragons including Deborah Meaden, who admitted that she’d be “taking the product home with her” and Sarah Willingham who offered to stock the product across her venues.
After four dragons declared themselves out, it was Mr Jenkins who quite literally put his money where his mouth was.
On the decision to enter the Den, Mr Allen said: “It was a very much a considered decision to go on the show, as it’s the kind of environment where if you’ve got holes in your offering you’ll get found out – in front of an audience of millions to boot. But, as an FMCG business, a room full of Dragons is a piggin’ amazing place to be.
“We know we’re not everyone’s cup of tea and you 100 per cent see that during our pitch, but that’s half the fun of the product – we love being someone’s occasional guilty pleasure.”
However, Mr Coleman said that the decision to try their luck on Dragon’s Den was not borne out of the desire for publicity, nor entirely from the need for investment, but from something that matters a great deal to them – learning.
“Yes, Nick Jenkins can be a great figurehead for Snaffling Pig and yes he can open doors for us,” says Mr Coleman, “but we really value the mentoring role he can play for us too. We love learning from people, getting advice and applying it. Every day is a school day for us. Since we secured his investment we’ve met with Nick a few times and he’s always been there for us on the end of the phone or over email. He’s been really hands on, he wants to help us grow the brand in all the right places.”
Mr Coleman also pays tribute to another great source of learning he has benefited from.
He added: “I’m not paying lip service when I say that we wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for the support of local Growth Hub Buckinghamshire Business First. The newsletters and website are really useful and are another great learning tool for us.”
Though it is an intimidating route to take in order to secure investment, Mr Coleman highly recommends going on Dragon’s Den, but has this advice: “You must be very well prepared before you go on there. I’ve seen the ill-prepared step in front of the Dragons before and essentially kill their business off in one devastating, high profile moment.”
But with their products on sale at 900 locations and having not long since branched out with their beer range, the future is bright for the Aylesbury-based Snaffling Pig Co. as long as they keep their trotters on the ground.
“Every day can be a battle, so we’ll continue to keep our heads down and work hard,” vows Mr Coleman.
“We’re continually gearing up for the future and making sure we’re prepared for whatever happens next.”
They’re in The founders of Bucks based business Snaffling Pig Co Nick Coleman and Andrew Allen with Dragon and Moonpig founder Nick Jenkins