Dan Cluderay and Andy Needham of Approved Foods
Clare Burnett

Dragons’ Den rejects secure £400k investment for Yorkshire food retail startup

Two Yorkshire market traders turned online retail entrepreneurs have secured £400k in funding to support their venture, despite being rejected by investors on BBC 2 show Dragons’ Den.

The Dragons all turned down the opportunity to back Dan Cluderay and Andy Needham’s budding online-only discount retail store Approved Food, which went on to receive more than double the investment elsewhere.

Despite positive feedback on the Dragons Den episode, which aired tonight (February 8th) from both Jones and Linney, after a gruelling two hour session in the infamous warehouse all of the Dragons declared they were ‘out’.

The business secured in excess of £400k from investors in and around Yorkshire since the show was filmed in May last year, resulting in impressive growth and expansion.

The site is now reportedly the UK’s largest online-only discount retailer, in 2014 Approved Foods shipped around 115,000 orders to tens of thousands of people across the country – resulting in a combined saving of more than £8.1million for its customers.

It specialises in short-dated and residual stock food and drinks products sourced directly from manufacturers and wholesalers.

Dan said: “The Den was an interesting experience, and I am glad to have done it, but we went in asking for a £150k investment for a 10% stake in our businesses and it was quickly apparent that the Dragons simply didn’t get what we were about.

“At one point we were criticised for having too low profit margins, but that is exactly what Approved Food is built on – value and convenience for our customers who are our priority. Looking back, talking to multimillionaires about saving a few quid on their weekly shop was perhaps a bit naive.”

“In September we moved in to our new premises.

“We introduced a totally new operating system, recruited more staff, launched two new brands and saw record sales all within a matter of weeks.

“We’re delighted by the investment we have received since filming took place, which has enabled us to expand our offering whilst maintaining our core values.

“I’m particularly pleased that we’ve been recognised as very scalable businesses that has capacity to grow even further - particularly in light of today’s consumer market and its needs.”

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