Dragons’ Den: Piers Linney
The co-CEO of Outsourcery invested in eight companies during his time on the show including the hugely successful Lost My Name
Dragon from: Series 11 – Series 12, 2013 to 2015
Number of investments made: Eight
Largest sum invested: £100,000
Most successful investment on the show: Lost My Name
Who is Piers Linney?
Stoke-on-Trent-born Piers Linney started his entrepreneurial journey at a young age, cutting out the middleman and going direct to the wholesaler to start his own paper round when he was 13.
After graduating from The University of Manchester with a degree in law and accounting, Linney worked briefly as a solicitor before joining the UK investment banking team at Barclays de Zoete Wedd.
In 2000, he left banking to focus on internet entrepreneurship, becoming involved in a number of different technology ventures before getting his big break in 2007 when he and business partner Simon Newton bought Genesis Communications – a mobile voice and data reseller company.
The pair built the firm up to create one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of mobile solutions to businesses, eventually selling it for he what he described as “a lot of money”. Genesis also acquired cloud IT and communications business ThusMobile from Cable&Wireless and rebranded as Outsourcery, with Linney taking on the role of co-CEO. In 2013, the company raised £13m by floating on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
Linney as a Dragon
Linney invested in eight companies during his two series as a Dragon, of which four went through after the show.
The Startups Awards-nominated Lost My Name was one of Linney’s biggest success stories from the Den. Initially investing £100,000 for a 5% stake in the personalised children’s book company, he now owns a 3.2% share – thought to be the highest valuation in the show’s history. London-based Lost My Name recently secured a €4m extension to its $9m Series A funding round as it looks to accelerate international growth.
Linney invested another £100,000 for 15% equity in Startups 100-featured Mainstage Travel, which was founded by Young Guns Aden Levin and Rob Tominey. The Dragon retains his share in the company, which has gone on to achieve revenues in the millions.
Life after the Den
With a Bajan mother and an English father, Linney was named as one of the top 100 most influential black Britons in the JP Morgan sponsored Power List 2013 and Entrepreneur Leader of the Year at the 2014 Black British Business Awards.
He has also used this heritage to inspire and support the business ambitions of young black men in the UK in his capacity as a role model for the government’s REACH programme, and those of entrepreneurs from any race, gender, faith or ethnicity as a founding trustee of the Powerlist Foundation.
Linney is passionate about getting young people into work, setting up Work Insight in 2014 – a digital platform that helps 14 to 19 year-old students find employment – and as a trustee of Plotr: a platform that helps 11 to 24 year-olds build their careers.