2018 was a landmark year for Drone Safe Register.
In February, we were focused on submitting our application to the flagship BBC business programme Dragon’s Den. It was too good an opportunity to miss to not put our fledgling business in front of some of the UK’s best business minds, although we knew there was only a slim chance that we would be walking into the Den with so many competing applications.
So we were thrilled when we found out that we had been selected to present our pitch in the Den and the work began in earnest to make sure we nailed our facts and figures ready for the Dragons’ grilling – and we also planned to make an impression from the outset by quite literally flying into the Den.
There’s such a range of success stories that have come from the Dragon’s Den Warehouse. Who can forget the musical Levi Roots? With the help of Peter Jones, his fiery sauce sold more in its opening weekend than it was forecast to move in one year!
If you’re partial to the occasional takeaway, then you’ve probably heard of Hungry House. Another hugely successful contender and they didn’t even work with the Dragons in order to achieve their household name status.
9th September 2018 – The Show Airs on BBC2 at 9pm
So, we were so excited to be standing not only in front of this illustrious panel of business entrepreneurs but also bringing Drone Safe Register to the forefront of the UK’s minds – the programme has 4 million viewers on the night with another 2 million who will watch it on Catch Up services and so it was an amazing opportunity to reach out and let the UK know what drones can do for them.
We knew that the programme had the desired effect as there was so much demand on our website that it failed under the strain of so many people taking a look at us and finding out more about our pilot members. In fact, there was a knock-on effect across the whole drone industry were many drone operators including our competitor directories, all had huge surges in interest. Luckily one of our first projects with the Peter Jones Team was to redevelop it so it’s fit to stand as much traffic as possible now.
Walking into that recognisable warehouse, we were facing quite a fearsome and impressive panel.
Deborah Meaden – a full time investor with a wide-ranging business portfolio and a huge amount of experience in so many industry sectors.
Peter Jones – A Dragon from Series 1 who started to build his own business empire straight from school and who has helped many other businesses with his investment and mentorship.
Jenny Campbell – A newer Dragon with a huge amount of experience in the banking and finance sectors.
Tej Lalvani – a CEO who took Vitalise from its humble beginnings to be the largest vitamin company in the UK with many recognisable health brands.
Touker Suleyman – a retail expert owning both Ghost and Hawes & Curtis and who is described also as a ‘serial entrepreneur’ with a keen interest in supporting UK start ups.
The Dragons’ Verdict
So when the pitch was over and it was time for the Dragons to declare their hands, we were so excited to reveal that we actually had not one, but three Dragons vying for the chance to make their investment. While we are sure that any one of them would have added incredible value to our business, our decision was to go with Peter Jones and accepted his
The tech tycoon is a household name having been one of the original Dragons and he’s an incredibly well respected and connected entrepreneur who has helped to shepherd many business to successes beyond their wildest dreams. Couple this with his vast experience in the world of technology and the fact that he actually retails drones himself
Mark’s Experience in the Den
” My visit to the Den was certainly one of the more nerve wracking experiences in my life. Firstly I was obviously extremely focused on my pitch.
However, before I could even get to that part, I had to deal with the pressure of flying a drone out of a lift in a ‘one take’ scenario in front of the UK’s most famous business panel. Actually after that, the pitch part seemed relatively simple! The night before I hadn’t sleep at all after learning of the sudden and tragic bereavement of a very close family friend. It took everything I had to stay focused and on point.
I wanted to become a part of Dragons’ Den (one of the BBC’s flagship shows entering its 16th series) as it seemed an ideal platform not only to potentially gain interest and investment from one of its eminently qualified Dragons but also to raise awareness of the type of work drones can do, of the benefits that DSR brings in providing safe, qualified and legal operators and generally cast a positive light on an industry that is too often demonised in the media.
Months of work had gone into getting ready for the big event. Obviously I’d rehearsed ‘the pitch’ time and time again, trying to predict the questions I’d be asked so I could get the answers ready. However, I’d be lying if I said that the trademark Dragon grilling wasn’t a little bit gruelling! I was focusing so hard on getting all the relevant info across that I didn’t even have time to think what the outcome of it all might be.
So I was genuinely gobsmacked when three Dragons threw their hats into the ring. Each of them would, I have no doubt, have brought the most incredible amount of value to my company. Still if you’d asked me before I went in what the perfect outcome would be, I’d have said ‘to get Peter Jones on board’ and so it really was too good an opportunity to miss when that became a possibility “
Things got a little heated when the Dragons were all vying to be our investors as you can see…
Peter Jones and Drone Safe Register
So Peter Jones shares our love of technology and also our enthusiasm for bringing exciting new study programmes into the school environment (you can find out more about our groundbreaking Drones for Schools Programme here). There was no doubt in our minds that we would be the perfect investor to help us to take Drone Safe Register to the next level.
However, we had no idea of the level of personal involvement that Peter would have in our business once the filming had stopped and the contracts were signed. It has exceeded all of our expectations to find Peter taking a great deal of interest in what we are trying achieve in the UK drone industry.