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

The board game business famously turned down an offer from the Dragons and has become an international bestseller...

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Company name: Linkee Ltd
Description: ‘Shouty outy’ quiz game
Series: 11
Year: 2013
Investment sought: £50,000 for 10% equity
Why didn’t the Dragons invest? Duncan Bannatyne made an offer of £50,000 for 40% equity which was rejected

Not your conventional board game, ‘shouty outy’ quiz game Linkee enables players to win points by working out the connections between four answers; for example if the answers were Ginger, Posh, Spice and Baby, the Linkee would be the Spice Girls.

When the business entered the Den back in 2012, it was this anti-traditional board game approach which attracted Duncan Bannatyne to make Linkee’s founders – Tristan Williams, Ben Drummond and Dean Tempest – an offer of £50,000 for 40%.

However, Bannatyne’s equity stake proved to be “too much” for the trio and they rejected the offer with Linkee’s Drummond having since commented “there was no way we were going to give away 40%. Not on your nelly”.

Fortunately, the trio were able to secure a loan from Williams’ parents after the show aired and Linkee has gone on take the toy and games market by storm, becoming an instant Christmas bestseller in 2013 with over 50,000 games sold.

Today, the quiz game is stocked with leading retailers including Argos, Hamleys and Toys R Us, is available as a free mobile and tablet app for iOS and Android, and has international versions for the USA, France, Spain and Hong Kong. There’s even a kids version of the game, Dinkee Linkee, which was created with the help of school children.

What’s more, the business has made the jump from box to TV with its very own BBC One show The Link, inspired by the game, which aired in 2014 with a 25 episode run.

The Linkee founders say “they’re aiming for total Linkee world domination”, so watch this space!

Watch the original pitch here.

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