Dragons’ Den: James Caan visits DiscreteHeat in 2009
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Martin Wadsworth entered the Den in 2008 seeking £150,000 for a 10 percent stake in a business, DiscreteHeat, which at the time was making a loss. DiscreteHeat designs and sells energy efficient room heating.
Mr Wadsworth left the den empty handed but one year after his pitch, he was able to turn down one of the Dragons as they returned, asking for a second chance to invest.
He said he had a “sense of regret,” that he did not take up the opportunity to invest when he could.
Mr Wadsworth believe that his product offered the best of both worlds from underfloor heating and radiators whilst being priced in between both options too.
DiscreteHeat had made a £188,000 net loss in their first year and estimated a profit of £8,000 at the end of year two.
He explained that he had put £400,000 of his own money into the business, declining investment offers as he was searching for just the right person to come along that can help market the product ell
Peter Jones was the first dragon to dismiss Mr Wadsworth.
He said he knew nothing about this marketplace, and would not know where to go with it so he said he could not invest.
Theo Paphitis pointed out that funding a business with £400,000 without going into debt and still having savings in the bank was a noteworthy feat, but proved Mr Wadsworth was in the wrong place due to this success.
He continued: “You don’t need to be here and I don’t know why you’re here. Since you don’t need my investment, I’m out as well.”
Mr Bannatyne agreed with Mr Paphitis and said he could not invest.
He said: “I’m clever enough to know that this is not a business proposition. It’s not a great investment, it doesn’t work.”
Mr Wadsworth defended his product well, but did not get an investment from the Dragons’.
12 months later, Mr Caan met up with the entrepreneur to discuss how the business was doing despite no investment.
He shared that the business was struggling to keep up with the intense demand from all over the world.
The revenue forecasts for DiscreteHeat were between £1.3million and £1.5million despite trading during the 2008 recession.
Mr Caan hinted that DiscreteHeat could be the one that got away, as he concluded: “For me, today, this is probably one where there is a sense of regret.”
After being knocked back by the Dragons in 2008, Mr Wadsworth steadily built a business from scratch, manufacturing an innovative skirting board that doubles as a radiator.
Now selling in more than 20 countries, the ThermaSkirt is installed all over the world.
In 2015, the company secured its biggest contract to date – worth £5million – with a national care home builder and, in turn, the NHS.
With Dragons’ Den recently coming to a close for another series, DiscreteHeat still remains one of the top rejected products that went on to make millions.
Another is Tangle Teezer, a hairbrush company now worth a £200million. Rob’s rejection has also been one of the biggest success stories in the show’s history.
Dragons’ Den is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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