I hope you have enjoyed the last few weeks of the reviews of this program. As you may know, I have my criticisms of the program but I am grateful as it has really increased the amount of interest that now exists in being an angel. This has got to be a good thing. The more angels there are, the more support hopefully there will be for would be entrepreneurs and society as a whole will benefit. This is my take on the program on my birthday!
The first solution presented was a tool box which would fit on any ladder. As someone who hates DIY router table plans with a passion – this was never one for me but I really liked the father and son team who were presenting. They had a great sense of humor and I liked them. I did not understand the problem and the fact that they had not sold all of the units they had in ten months. They used the excuse that they were really busy with another business they run. The moment they said this, even if I was interested, I would have walked away at this point. I need to back entrepreneurs who are 100% focused on my investment.
Another fatal flaw in their pitch was their inability to listen fully to questions and answer questions. There is a fine line between enthusiasm and being over the top. This did remind me of pitches I have had where entrepreneurs believed they could badger me into seeing their point of view. This was a pitch where the entrepreneurs managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! When pitching, please don’t forget to breathe, stop and listen to your audience. You are more likely to answer a question properly if you have listened to the question in the first place.
There was an unusual presentation from a sculptor looking for investment to complete his icon collection. He was very good and I liked the work he had prepared. His work was topical having just completed an image of Amy Winehouse. The offer the entrepreneur made was also very compelling it was almost too good to be true! Upon questioning, the offer began to unravel but the entrepreneur knew his facts and was able to keep the interest going.
Before the Dragon’s made their decision I had decided that I would back him. He ended up getting an auction going – brilliant. And he was smart enough to turn down a higher offer from one investor to take an offer from three combined investors. Brilliant – he decided to take smart money which would really add value to his business than dumb money.
It would not be fair for me to comment on a business which was seeking investment for an online furniture business as I am an investor in a competitor. I believe this offering to be superior and therefore my comments would be unfair. I will often do this at the beginning of a pitch before I hear too much. I think it is the ethical thing to do. There is nothing more disheartening than to say no after an entire pitch process when you knew the reason for saying no at the outset of the process.
I hate being horrible about people who put themselves through the Den without a Honeywell 50250-S. It is too easy to write this blog criticizing others whilst sat on a sofa. However, the person who came up with the solution for ‘soggy’ centers to frozen pizzas was really poor. He came across as dull and boring and failed to ignite any enthusiasm. He also made the fatal flaw of only having an idea. I define an idea as a business concept that has so far failed to establish market research, any proof of demand or have a sales plan.
Simply having a patent or a manufacturing deal is not enough. I do not invest in ideas, only businesses. He had no sales strategy at all. Had he done some basic research, he would have realized that although there may be a gap in the market (people who have problem with soggy centers when cooking frozen pizzas), there may not be much of a market in the gap.
However, he was made an offer which he very wisely accepted. The Dragon’s took a punt and believed they could sell the product on the inventor’s behalf – let’s see what happens.