Dragons Den winners: The original and the best
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Dupsy Abiola entered the Den in 2012 seeking an investment of £100,000 for 10 percent equity stake in her company. Internavenue.com is an online platform which helps employers find qualified students and graduates for their businesses.
Internavenue.com allows employers to directly search for and find students and graduates with the qualifications that they are looking for without having to post an advert and hoping for the perfect candidate to walk through the door.
Ms Abiola wanted a Dragon on board as they could help her launch her idea to the public.
As it is an online platform, she told Deborah Meaden that the product will constantly be evolving but it is ready to be set live.
Hilary Devey questioned Ms Abiola about her competition. She told her that she employs a lot of graduates, working with different universities and this costs her nothing. She was struggling to see how this could be useful.
However, Ms Abiola argued that employers who may be linked with certain universities or hubs are not experiencing the whole market, there could be other people out there better suited to the position available.
Internavenue.com uses matching algorithms that rank candidates based on certain criteria.
Without an investment from the Dragons’, her company would run out of money in the next four months.
Deborah said: “This is too risky. I predict that without an investor with deep pockets, you are going to run out of cash.
“You will spend your life trying to fund raise and I’m not convinced enough by this model to be that person with the deep pockets so I’m afraid I won’t be investing, I’m out.”
Theo Paphitis could tell Ms Abiola was a “driven individual,” but he could not see how her company differed from other sites offering this service. He could not see why candidates would want to subscribe to her platform.
He said: “I’m probably going to regret this, but I have to pass on you. I’m out.”
Duncan Bannatyne agreed with Theo that “there are too many people in the market doing this”. He therefore could not invest.
Peter thought it was “a tough business make money”.
He explained that it was a risk to take on a business like this and sustain it, but he was “up for the challenge.”
Peter said: “I’d like to see if this is a business that could generate income. As it is risk factor for me, I’m going to need a bigger return. I’m going to offer you £100,000 for 40 percent of the business.”
Ms Abiola explained to the Dragons’ what her motivation for the business was. Her father was a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, and she has always been passionate about business. When she was younger, she lived in Africa and at the time there was military dictatorship which led the country and her father fought against this as he was “passionate about democracy”.
He was detained when she was 12, and her family were terrorised, and they shut down one of her father’s businesses.
“We lost everything, and my mother had to look after six of us alone. We had a really difficult time,” she said.
She told the Dragons’ that when she was 16, she thought he would be released unharmed, however he died.
Ms Abiola said: “He is an inspiration to me. Whatever challenges that are thrown at you, I know I have the stuff to make it happen and I know my dad is cheering me on.”
Tearing up, Hilary said: “I knew something had happened when you were younger. I’m really impressed with you; I think you will go somewhere far and fast.”
Hillary matched Peter’s offer.
Overwhelmed with the support from the Dragons’ she needed to think about what to do. Ms Abiola asked Peter and Hilary if they would be willing to decrease their percentage stake to 30 percent if she could meet her target for the busines.
Both agreed to this term. Ms Abiola was delighted to take Peter’s offer.
Dragons’ Den is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
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