The BBC are showing a TV program series called “Dragon’s Den”. Despite my interest in fantasy, this is about venture capitalism, not sword & sorcery, albeit with a very British spin. Yesterday, a show went out which sums up the crapness of British industrial management. Each week the show gets a bunch of self-made rich tossers into a loft and asks would-be entrepreneurs to beg them for money to invest in their business.
Yesterday, Kestrel Aerospace, who are building a personal air vehicle based on a proprietary and innovative engine within a craft that looks a bit like the aircraft flown by Arnie in the fim “The 6th Day”. Its a fantastic vision based on scientific intellectual property with true value. They were asking for £70,000 and were turned down. One of the “Dragons” stated that he would wait to buy one. They (actually the only female dragon) did however agree to fund a “Suits You for Girls to go”. See the Dragons Den winners page. While some of the pitch for the money involved the use of feminist rhetoric, this is a tailoring business. Arguably, its a channel business (like Amazon), which is why Rachel Elnaugh invested in it.
How come it doesn’t surprise me that a bunch of rich no talents choose a tailoring business over a manufacturing business? It’s part of a British disease, making money by making things of value is too hard & difficult for Britain’s entrepreneurs. Obviously the fact that Kestrel know that they have value means that they won’t be ripped off by the greed of the dragons, so there is no way they can take the micky and take disproportionate equity stakes. Kestrel weren’t desperate enough. This makes Kestrel unattractive to the greedy. I’m surprised that the BBC don’t get Harry Enfield to reprise his “Loadsamoney” character for the show.
Originally published on my Sun/Oracle blog and republished here in Feb 2016.
It unusually attracted several comments,
I saw that show and have to say I disagree. The reason the woman won the money was because the dmonstrated a knowledge of the industry and a clear way to make money. The reason Kestrel Aerospace didn’t was because they wouldn’t be open about their proposition, hiding behind phrases like “I’ve been advised not to talk about that”.
I’d say it’s more to their credit that they wouldn’t invest in something they would buy themselves – they may well have done had they been more comfortable about the personality of the entrepreneur and the strength of their offering.
And remember that they have to work with these guys once they lend the money, so if they don’t trust them, it’s less likely to work. The feminist sisterhood stuff therefore is a factor.
Posted by Ian Miell on February 05, 2005 at 08:57 PM PST