Dragons’ Den success stories: hungryhouse (and what you can learn from them)

hungryhouse’s deal came to a halt after the show aired in 2007, eight years on and the takeaway platform is now a British success story...

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Company name: hungryhouse
Description: Online takeaway ordering service
Series: 5
Year: 2007
Investment sought: £100,000 for 11%
Why didn’t the Dragons invest? James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne did make an offer of £100,000 for 50% which was accepted but the deal collapsed after the show

UK takeaway ordering platform hungryhouse is a household name today, but back in 2007 the company was a little known start-up pitching for investment from the Dragons.

Having “delivered a professional pitch”, founders Shane Lake and Tony Charles were offered £100,000 for 50% equity from Dragons Caan and Bannatyne which the duo then accepted. However, after the show, the deal went awry – according to hungryhouse’s blog “four months after filming, post-show due diligence ground to a halt after Caan became unsure whether the business would take off.”

Lake and Charles didn’t let this rejection set them back; raising £150,000 from alternative business angels a few months later which would enable them to increase their restaurant partners from 150 in 2007 to over 2,500 in September 2010.

In February 2013, the company was acquired by Berlin-based competitor Delivery Hero for an undisclosed amount and, bolstered by the acquisition, the business has continued to scale with over 9,000 restaurant platforms now signed to its platform in most major cities across the UK.

At the time of the Den deal collapsing, Charles commented:

“The exposure of being on TV was massive for us. But when you go into the Den, aside from the positives, the one thing you can’t expect is a good equity deal! On reflection, we’re glad the negotiations with the Dragons fell through.”

Watch the original pitch here.

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