Posted on January 18, 2017 by staff

Leave Dragons’ Den to Reggae Reggae sauce


Tech businesses are better off shunning Dragons’ Den as its products cannot be piled high in a supermarket like Reggae Reggae sauce, according to a former pitcher on the show.

Swansea University lecturer Dr John Dingley appeared on the hit BBC show in 2009 with colleague Dr David Williams looking for investment to bring their medical device, ShakerScope, to market.

The instrument is a kinetically powered light source that enables medical instruments to be used in difficult locations where batteries and mains power supplies are not available.

“Unless the tech can be made quickly and piled high in B&Q – but maybe only until they make their own cheaper version – then I suspect the Dragons would not be very interested in it,” he told BusinessCloud.

“The Reggae Reggae sauce example is good, it had a memorable person and song, and was a product you could pile high in a supermarket, which is the market the Dragons know.

“Our device was medical, so for the Dragons that meant a long delay before it reached market with lots of regulatory work first, so there would be no quick returns.”

The duo, both consultant anaesthetists at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, spent one-and-a-half hours in front of the panel, which was edited to a couple of minutes “because we did not say we were scared, did not say our lives depended upon it and did not cry when they did the post-grilling up close interviews, so I suspect the producer thought it would not make great drama”, Dingley believes.

The entertainment factor of the process was also stark, he said, which made them think it was not perhaps the best route to gaining funding.

“The Dragons spontaneously argue with each other for no reason at all if the producer tells them to via their earpieces,” he claimed.

The device was later licensed to Times Co of London, and the duo’s Bay Innovations business has gone on to produce other medical instruments.

The entrepreneur behind a leading wearable technology brand described his appearance on Dragons’ Den as “the best focus group”.