Dragons’ Den: Doug Richard

The Californian entrepreneur was one of the original Dragons, co-investing in two companies during his two series on the show

Dragon from: Series 1 – Series 2, 2005 to 2005
Number of investments made: Two
Largest sum invested: £60,000
Most successful investment on the show: IV Cam Industrial Control Systems

Who is Doug Richard?

One of the original Dragons, US-born Doug Richard built his fortune and business reputation creating and selling technology companies in California throughout the 80s and 90s.

In 1991, Richard used the profits from the sale of his first company ITAL Computers – which sold services and systems to the Southern California aerospace industry – to launch his second company Visual Software. This was acquired by Micrografx for an impressive $12m in 1996, with Richard becoming president and CEO of the software company the following year. After turning around the fortunes of Micrografx and selling it to Corel Corporation in 2001, the entrepreneur moved to Cambridge with his family in 2001.

It was here he first turned his attention to angel investing, founding the Cambridge Angels, an investment group that backed tech start-ups in the city’s burgeoning tech sector.

Richard as a Dragon

Richard only invested in two companies during his short spell on the show – IV Cam Industrial Control Systems and clothing company Grails.

Richard and Peter Jones committed £50,000 to Industrial Control Systems in series one of the show for 30% equity. However, the deal failed to come to fruition because the Dragons wanted to license the technology instead of manufacture the product. As of 2015, the company was still trading.

Richard’s second investment of £120,000 for a 40% share in Grails with Rachel Elnaugh was completed after the show, but less than a year later, the company ceased trading owing an estimated £85,000 to it suppliers, which were mostly small family businesses.

Life after the Den

Leaving the show after series two in 2005, Richard remained as an angel investor in the Cambridge Angels until 2008, when he stepped away to launch School for Startups.

The organisation provides training and support to help people start their own businesses and helps government drive economic growth through entrepreneurship. 30,000 people are estimated to have been enrolled through the programme since launch.

Richard stepped down as director of the company in 2015 after he was arrested and charged with serious allegations. In January 2016 he was acquitted of all the charges brought against him and rejoined School for Startups as director.

Richard has been involved in a variety of publications for the Conservative government including the Richard Report on Small Business, the Entrepreneurs Manifesto and the Richard Review of Apprenticeships.

In 2013, he published his first book: How to Start a Creative Business.

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