Monday, February 9, 2015

News: Approved Food on Dragons' Den

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Approved Food, a Sheffield firm that has expanded four times in six years, failed to secure investment on BBC's Dragons' Den but vowed: "We'll get 'em next time."

In an experience they described as "horrendous," "painful," "excruciating," and "a bit traumatic," directors Dan Cluderay and Andy Needham secured the chance of three minutes to pitch their business ideas to five multi-millionaires willing to invest their own cash. The episode was filmed in May when the firm was still based at the North Anston Trading Estate in Dinnington, Rotherham.

Cluderay started the business six years ago as a side-line to his small market stall, operating from the garage and based in his back bedroom. The online service offers deals that no supermarket can compete with by selling over 1,000 long dated, short dated or out of date "best before" products from many well-loved brands. It now has 50 staff helping thousands of customers save up to 70% off their food bills.

The pitch, which aired last night, saw the directors ask for a £150,000 investment in return for a 10% stake in the business. An impromptu market trader pitch from Dan got Dragon Peter Jones interested, as did discussion over the unique target market of savvy shoppers. Fellow Dragon, Duncan Bannatyne was interested in investing but had question marks over the small profit margins and value of the business. Deborah Meaden talked about the directors taking risks and the indebtedness in the business.

Recognising the passion for the business and the value of reducing food waste, the Dragons were unanimous that the pair "had got something," but in the end no offer was forthcoming. Peter Jones left the door open for investing further down the line.

Speaking immediately after leaving the Den, Dan Cluderay (pictured, left), said: "It's not the right time for them but I bet we can get them in the future!"

Since moving to Dinnington in 2010, the company grew quickly. In 2012 UK Steel Enterprise Ltd and Finance Yorkshire put together an undisclosed finance package to enable Approved Food to invest further to underpin the company's rapid growth. In October, after the visit to the Den, Approved Food, expanded into a 60,000 sq ft warehouse on Parkway Close just off The Parkway in Sheffield.

The company delivered over 110,000 orders last year with a turnover in excess of £4m.

Approved Food

Images: BBC

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