Dragons’ Den success stories: Levi Roots (and what you can learn from him)

Told there was "no future for his business” by Duncan Bannatyne, Roots has built a Caribbean food and drink empire worth £30m...

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Company name: Levi Roots Reggae Reggae Foods Ltd
Description: Range of spicy BBQ sauces
Series: 4
Year: 2007
Investment received: £50,000 for 40% equity
Dragon investors: Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh
Still in business? Yes – now said to be worth £30m

One of the biggest success stories of the Den to date, Levi Roots has become a household name with his popular hot BBQ sauces that tell you to “put some music in your food”.

Having serenaded the Dragons in his pitch with the song that he would later become widely famous for, Roots (real name Keith Graham) won investment from Jones and Farleigh on a “punt” and was told by Duncan Bannatyne that there was “no future for his business”. Fast forward eight years and Roots has undoubtedly proved Bannatyne wrong.

Reggae Reggae sauces are now stocked in all the major UK supermarkets and Roots has expanded his range to cover chilled ready meals, pasties and even Caribbean-flavoured soft drinks – taking his worth to an estimated £30m according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

And it’s not just food, the British-Jamaican entrepreneur has put his name to a series of cookbooks, music albums, his own Caribbean-inspired food festival, had a BBC TV cooking show and plans to launch a chain of global restaurants.

While Farleigh is no longer involved in the business – Jones bought out Farleigh for little more than he invested – Jones remains a shareholder and advocate for the brand; “it’s one of my most successful investments from the show”.

Watch the original pitch here.

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