Home Somerset business The eye-watering amount of money Deborah Meaden spent on Dragon’s Den

The eye-watering amount of money Deborah Meaden spent on Dragon’s Den


Somerset’s Deborah Meaden has made headlines over the years for her quick wit and business acumen.

But she also invested in numerous start-ups during her time on Dragons’ Den, spending a huge amount of money during her time on the show.

New search for Small Business Awards looked at every deal ever done on Dragons’ Den to find out just how much the Dragons’ investments really set them back.

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Peter Jones has been with the series since its launch in 2005 and has accepted the most trades.

Over 18 series, he made a whopping 41 trades averaging 2.28 trades per season.

These include Levi Roots and its Reggae Reggae Sauce, Intern Avenue by Dupsy Abiola, and WoodBlocx, home-made wood landscaping products by contractors Henry and Philip Blake.

Peter is closely followed by Deborah Meaden who has completed 34 deals over 16 seasons, and Theo Paphitis who has invested in 20 companies during his eight seasons in the Den – an average of 2.5 deals each season he has played in .

Although Deborah Meaden said in a 2007 interview with The Guardian that she could “get quite candid” and even felt criticized for not investing, she invests an average of 2,125 trades per season.

Even though Sara Davies has only been on Dragons’ Den for two seasons, she has the most average trades per season, averaging 5.5 trades per season.

Sara Davies is currently the youngest investor to appear on the show and said she was “a fan from the start” and was even asked to appear on the show 13 years ago.

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How much did the dragons spend?

Taking the top spot with an overwhelming portfolio of 41 investments, Peter Jones invested £2,080,666.67 over 18 seasons, averaging just over £115,500 per trade.

Peter Jones is the oldest dragon to first appear in the series when it debuted in 2005.

The Dragon who invested the second highest amount of money was Deborah Meaden, who invested a total of £1,799,000.00.

Meaden is a British businesswoman and TV personality who made her money mostly from the travel industry and has been on the show for 16 seasons, starting with season three.

The amount she has invested is around four percent of her net worth – which is the most of all the dragons.

Theo Paphitis, a retail tycoon and entrepreneur who is also the former chairman of Millwall Football Club, has invested the third highest amount of money while being on the show for eight seasons.

Retail mogul and entrepreneur Theo Paphitis was on Dragons' Den for eight seasons.
Retail mogul and entrepreneur Theo Paphitis was on Dragons’ Den for eight seasons.

Theo Paphitis has invested a total of £1,449,166.67 in potential entrepreneurs.

Sara Davies, the newest Dragon, invests an average of £249,583.34 for each trade. The British businesswoman and entrepreneur is the founder and owner of Crafter’s Companion.

She started the start-up, which is now a million pound business, while a student at York University.

Some success stories

Reggae Sauce Reggae

One of the biggest deals ever on Dragons’ Den happened in 2007 when singer and reggae bandleader Levi Roots offered his Reggae Reggae Sauce to the Dragons.

Although Duncan Bannatyne didn’t believe in the idea, Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh invested £25,000 each to manufacture the product, along with 40% of the company’s share capital.

The barbecue sauce, which Levi Roots started selling at the Notting Hill Carnival, was a secret recipe from his grandmother and the company now has a net worth of £45million. It even exceeds sales of Heinz Tomato Ketchup, according to Sainsbury’s.

Reggae singer and bandleader Levi Roots landed one of the biggest deals ever when he launched his Reggae Reggae Sauce on Dragons' Den.
Reggae singer and bandleader Levi Roots landed one of the biggest deals ever when he launched his Reggae Reggae Sauce on Dragons’ Den.

Lean tan

Another Dragons’ Den success story is Skinny Tan, created by budding inventors Kate Cotton and Louise Ferguson from Essex.

After spending 10 years in Australia, the duo returned to the UK and attempted to expand their self-tanning brand startup.

After the company launched in 2012, the brand made a profit of £600,000 in the first year. However, after its founders introduced themselves to the Dragons in 2013, the company achieved worldwide success and even became one of the UK’s best-selling tanning products.

The Dragon’s Kelly Hoppen and Piers Linney have made an investment offer of £60,000 for a 10% stake in the company.

After the investment, the company entered into an agreement with Boots and expanded to Spain, Canada, South Africa and Dubai.

magic whiteboard

Another of the biggest deals ever on Dragon’s Den was when Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis invested in a magic whiteboard.

The product was founded by husband and wife team Neil and Laura Westwood in 2006 and is a roll of A1 whiteboard sheets that stick to anything with static electricity.

Meaden and Paphitis invested the respectable sum of £100,000 for a 40% share in the business.

The Magic Whiteboard is now available at all major office supply stores with a global customer base.

In 2008 the product was stocked in 230 Ryman stores, in 2016 over a million rolls were sold and it is now the largest pegboard range in the UK since 2018.

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