19 and 3 businesses in: How young entrepreneur Jordan Daykin won over the Dragons

Fresh from receiving £80,000 investment from Deborah Meaden, the serial entrepreneur discusses leaving school at 13, hiring people he trusts and plans for global expansion

Following last night’s episode of Dragons’ Den, which saw one of the youngest ever entrepreneurs to appear on the Den deliver an almost seamless pitch – Startups.co.uk catches up with the serial entrepreneur to find out how he managed to crack tough-nut Deborah Meaden.

19 year-old Jordan Daykin, managing director of Grip It Fixings, received £80,000 from Meaden for a 25% stake in his business.

Here, he talks about taming the Dragons, his previous business forays and his plans for Grip It.

I went into the Den with the hope that any of the Dragons would invest in my business. Duncan, of course expressed an interest and Piers was keen on a 50:50 collaboration with Deborah but secretly I was very happy to secure Deborah’s backing because of her vast experience in the area and her extensive contacts base.

A family business

It was my Grandad and I who came up with the idea for Grip It back in 2008, while putting up curtain rails. We were having a bit of difficulty in doing so and both thought there should be an easier way. We consequently spent the rest of the afternoon in my grandfather’s garden shed figuring out a more effective mechanism. It was here that Grip It Fixings, the revolutionary new design of universal fixing designed for use with all types of plasterboard installation, was born.

My grandad has an engineering background and it only took a few days to come up with a prototype and after that it was a case of months of testing and then applying for a patent.

An unconventional education

My route here has been unconventional as I left school at the age of 13 and have always been eager to follow my entrepreneurial dreams. My first business was a website called RS2Services, which was inspired by my fondness of RuneScape, an online fantasy role-playing game. The site offered players the best RuneScape products at a cheaper price.

I was keen to continue my academic work after leaving school and it was during this period that I came up with my second business. I was struggling to find a tutor and in a similar way to Grip It, I believed I could produce something better than what was currently available – and nationwide tutoring agency Tutor Magnet was born. It currently has a database of over 400 tutors and generates a turnover of £2,000 a month.

A youthful team

Grip It, however, really has the potential for growth and it is where I will be focusing my time. Having started it with my grandfather makes it that bit more special to me as well.

It is important to me to surround myself with people I trust, and I believe in giving opportunities to people who I believe can excel. I have hired 11 of my friends, all aged between 17-19 years old, who look after various areas of the business, from accounts and production to packing and distributing. My girlfriend, Laura, is in charge of sales!

Growth ambitions

The patent for Grip It was granted in November 2012 and, keen to grow the business, I sent out over 300 product leaflets to retailers across the country. After interest from Screwfix, Plumbase and Buildbase, I met with Wickes in September 2013, and they are now an official distributor of Grip It products; available to buy in all of their 220 stores.

Following great success in the UK, we are already trading in Germany and Belgium, with a patent pending in America where the market is seven-times larger than the UK. I’d like to take the product to the rest of Europe and Australia as well; this is hopefully just the start of the journey.

The Dragons’ Den experience was fantastic for me and the business and to have Deborah on board is a real coup. We have been working together for a few weeks now and she has been a real inspiration to me already.

I’m looking forward to many more exciting developments to come.

Jordan Daykin is founder of Grip It Fixings – find out more at www.gripitfixings.co.uk

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