Get the latest Startup news and information

Please verify before subscribing.

Dragons’ Den success stories: Mainstage Travel

The clubbing travel brand achieved the highest Den valuation since 2007, and has been on a growth ascent ever since with revenues in the millions...

Company name: Mainstage Travel
Description: Youth-focused tour operator
Series: 11
Year: 2014
Investment received: £100,000 for 15%
Dragon investor: Piers Linney
Still in business? Yes – Linney remains shareholder

It’s not often that a business secures £100,000 for 15% equity in the Den, in fact only two businesses have ever been valued higher – Igloo and iTeddy – since the BBC Two show began in 2005.

Founded in 2011 by young entrepreneurs Rob Tominey and Aden Levin, Startups 100-listed Mainstage Travel offers “once in a lifetime” low-cost clubbing holidays for the 18-24 market and is responsible for package holidays such as Magaluf Takeover and Snowboxx; allegedly Europe’s second largest ski festival.

When Tominey and Levin pitched to the Dragons, the business had already hit revenue figures of £1.6m and £257,000 profit with projections of £3.5m and £500,000 profit so it was unsurprising that Meaden, Jones, Bannatyne and Linney all made offers of investment.

With Linney’s offer in the bag, over the past year Mainstage Travel has fast gained momentum and added several youth packages to its offering including Croatia Rocks, Outlook Festival, and Magalove (a holiday for Magaluf fans).

Revenue figures are now well above those pitched in the Den and, in October of 2014, Growing Business recognised Tominey and Levin’s early success in the prestigious Young Guns awards – named ones to watch for 2015.

Watch the original pitch here.


(will not be published)

Showing 1 comment

  1. With due respect for Piers Linney, I suggest he will need to take a closer look to Mainstage Travel’s current model!
    As a paying customer, I recently had a rather bitter experience with Mainstage Travel. To cut the long story short, in February 2016 I booked a ski holiday for me and my wife through We Are Ski (a trade name of Mainstage Travel). The binding contract was for a named accommodation at 300mt from the centre of the village and from the slopes, at a price 15%/20% cheaper than that offered by other agents for an equivalent accommodation. “Nice”, we thought.
    However, two days before departure, we received an email from We Are Ski containing travel details and we noted a different address for the apartment (the change of apartment was NOT pointed out to us in the email in any way). In fact, the replacement apartment now was at 3km from the village and from the slopes, required shuttle/taxi transportation and was located at least 15 minutes walk from the nearest shuttle stop.
    Despite extensive correspondence (some with borderline incompetent members of staff), we were forced to accept the changed accommodation.
    In the end, the deal was some 20%/30% MORE expensive than comparative deals.
    No apologies or refund received!
    Maybe I am missing something here about this ‘Dragons Den-worth’ business model, but I suggest that most agents out there are perfectly capable of this kind of petty, deceiving practices to grow sales!