Dragons’ Den: Nick Jenkins
The multimillionaire Moonpig founder has backed six very different businesses during his one series in the den including Double, Slappie and Masons beans
Dragon from: Series 13 – ongoing, 2015 to current
Number of investments made: 6
Largest sum invested: £100,000
Most successful investment on the show: Masons Beans
Who is Nick Jenkins?
Founder of the hugely successful Moonpig.com, Nick Jenkins’ online greeting card business struggled through five years of losses before he turned it around with five rounds of investment and eventually sold it to Photobox.com in 2011 for £120m – from which he received an estimated £45m.
After studying Russian at university, Jenkins abandoned plans to join the army to pursue a career as a commodity trader in Moscow. It wasn’t until he received a death threat that the entrepreneur decided to return to the UK where he spent a year studying for an MBA at Cranfield University. It was here he first developed the idea for Moonpig – his nickname at School.
Jenkins has been an active angel investor since 2008, with a focus on e-commerce start-ups. He has backed energy management systems manufacturer Green Energy Options, Boomf.com, The Healthy Holiday Company, English heritage fashion brand Smart Turnout and a luxury goods e-commerce site Sheerluxe.com.
Jenkins as a Dragon
During his first series in the Den, Jenkins made six investments totalling £842,000, spanning a variety of sectors.
These included dating app Double, Slappie watches, baked beans company Masons Beans, dog lead connector Magloc, children’s science show provider Sublime Science, alongside Sarah Willingham, and clothes steamer Fridja, alongside Deborah Meaden.
His largest investment of £100,000 into Magloc and his £70,000 deal with Meaden into Fridja were not completed after the show, but others were more successful.
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After three hours of negotiations, Jenkins beat offers from three other Dragons to invest £50,000 for 20% equity into Masons Beans, which is now stocked in Fortnum and Mason, Selfridges, Harrods and Ocado. When Birmingham-based businessman David Kendall appeared on the show to promote Slappie watches, it drove so much traffic to his website that it crashed. Jenkins agreed to inject £50,000 into the business for 45% equity, which fuelled major brand and product developments.
Life outside the Den
As well as being a shrewd businessman, Jenkins is heavily involved in philanthropic activities outside his enterprise interests.
The multimillionaire sits on the board of Impact Ventures UK, an investment fund that focuses on finding solutions to social issues in the UK by backing social enterprises and charities. He is also a trustee of educational charity Ark and a patron of Shivia, a charity that supports poor families in West Bengal through enterprise.
In 2014, he assisted Sir Richard Branson in helping the Virgin mogul select the winning start-ups for the annual Pitch to Ritch (now VOOM) competition.