Entrepreneurs gather at UK’s ‘largest Dragons’ Den’

Some of the nation’s brightest entrepreneurs have met with investors at the ‘largest face to face meeting in the UK’ for new companies and financiers.

Around 300 investors had the chance to discuss plans with 29 new companies at the Beer and Partners Investment Fair held in London yesterday.

Private investors or ‘business angels’ and venture capitalists sat down for ‘one to one’ meetings with entrepreneurs from many different sectors.

“Propositions range from a pizza company to a ferry business and the figures they look to raise range from £50,000 to £2m,” said John Courtney, an associate director at Beer and Partners.

“Investors are mainly business angels but there are venture capitalists here too, such as the Close Brothers,” he said.

One entrepreneur attending was Ronnie Gleeson, who has already had considerable success with a previous business, Sedgemoor College, which he sold for £13.5m.

Gleeson is now looking for backers for his latest project, Gravitas Records, a new kind of music label where the artist will own a part of the company.

He said: “I have had some very good conversations and I expect that a couple might want to throw their hats into the ring.

“It is a very different concept as it is a UK-focused record label with just one band and record labels in other countries will be able to buy the licensing rights for it.”

Newly launched MediaStores, who enable firms to sell products online for free, were looking for £350,000 to expand into the US.

Founder William Pryor said: “We think we can pitch our business in 30 seconds so we are at an advantage at these type of events.

“The business enables someone who is really passionate about, for instance, a particular type of music or book to sell a related product.

“Our customers can make money with no investment and wholesalers make more sales.”

Other new businesses present at the event included SpeedFerries Ltd, Virtual Mirrors Ltd and BeepServices Ltd.

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2006


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