Food entrepreneurs secure investment on BBC’s Dragon’s Den from Steven Bartlett
East London based entrepreneurs Charlie Gilpin and Sam Moss of STOCKED appeared on TV screens nationwide on Thursday, 8 February 2024, as they took on BBC One’s Dragons’ Den.
The childhood friends from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, presented their nutritious, chef-cooked, award-winning meals, which are frozen into space saving, personally portioned Blocks, to the Dragons, ultimately gaining £50k investment from Steven Bartlett, for 6 per cent of their business.
We greet Sam and Charlie in the Den, with the friends excited to take on the Dragons; “looking around and being in the Den feels pretty surreal”, said Sam, after having grown up watching the show. Sam introduced STOCKED: “We make revolutionary meals for modern lives, and we’re here today asking for £50k in return for 2 per cent of the business.
Charlie added: “Maybe you’re a busy parent on the school run after a long day of work, or you’re a Dragon at the top of your game listening to two mates pitch you your next investment, either way, we all have less and less time to shop for, and cook, the meals that we love.”
Sam continued: “We’ve all opened up our freezers to see zip locked bags filled with god knows what, buried under a pile of freezer burnt fish fingers, wouldn’t it be great to fill it with useful food that you actually want to eat?”
Charlie said: “We make high quality, chef cooked, award winning meals with a difference, they’re frozen into handy little blocks.” Sam added: “These blocks can be transformed back into delicious dishes in under four minutes, with portion size controlled by you, every single time.”
Charlie sums up the confident pitch, “So an investment today will allow us to expand our growing website channel and to create a retail-specific product, we’d love you to join our frozen food revolution and get freezers around the country STOCKED.”
The Dragons called the pair's valuation of £2.5m, “really punchy”, and went on to interrogate the figures, with heavy investment into the brand, kitchen and a third of revenue going on digital marketing affecting profits, the Dragons began to become more sceptical about investing.
However, Steven Bartlett is known for his expertise in disruptive, digital-first brands; the challenge at hand is to build a chunky digital following and subscription base, that will create a compelling, and recognised, brand to go into retail
He said: “Dragons invest in a business where there is a tall mountain to climb and there is a lot of risk, but the question becomes for a Dragon, is the height of the mountain…does it match the aptitude of the climbers? And quite honestly, I think it does.
“The valuation is crazy, but I’m the fair Dragon, so I understand that valuations are what they are. There’s a lot of ways I can help.” Steven went on to offer Sam and Charlie all of the money, for 6 per cent of STOCKED. After chatting at the wall, Sam and Charlie try to drop the investment to 5 per cent of the business, ultimately agreeing to Steven’s offer.
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