Following her appearance on Dragons’ Den, Biscuit Tin Founder and serial entrepreneur Sheila Hogan, shared her experience of her time in the Den and what it was like pitching to such a high profile and successful group of entrepreneurs.
“I was originally approached about being in the show in Feb 2021. The process for getting in front of the Dragons is a lengthy one – a whole year from their first approach to the episode being aired.
Involving an application, video pitch and a number of interviews with a researcher who then presented the application to the executive team. Each stage you are never certain whether you will get through to the next and there is a lot of due diligence checking all the facts and statements made. Just getting to the day of filming and having the opportunity to be on the show felt like an enormous achievement.
I applied for the show because I wanted to raise awareness of Biscuit Tin, its purpose and mission to a global audience, whilst hopefully securing investment from one of the Dragons’. I had my hopes pinned on Deborah Meaden. Given her own personal experience I knew Biscuit Tin would resonate, and she holds a strong belief in businesses with purpose and as a force for good. I knew getting on Dragons’ Den would be the chance of a lifetime and would help me to take another step forward towards my vision of establishing Biscuit Tin as a leading global household brand for end-of-life planning and digital legacy within the next five years.”
Pitching in the Den
“Anyone who has watched the show will know that I didn’t manage to get a Dragon on board. At the time of filming, I was a pre-revenue tech company at that stage of business profile we just didn’t align with the Dragons’ investment strategies.
Dragons’ Den is unlike pitching anywhere else! Knowing my pitch was going to be aired to potentially millions of people on prime-time TV, meant that my Dragons’ Den experience was always going to be quite unlike any other pitch or speaking engagement that I’d ever had to do over my forty-year career in digital transformation.
And so, it proved to be. Stepping out of the lift and into the studio where the Dragons were sitting was one of the most nerve-wracking, yet exhilarating times of my life. I remember having a real wobbly moment – I welled up and had to take a big breath at the point in my pitch when I pointed at the picture of my Mum & Dad, the driving force behind the idea for Biscuit Tin, it was at that moment I realised they were going to be on the telly.
In the Den, there was an intensity to my pitch that I’d not experienced before. Knowing the pitch could be edited in any way the producers chose, which I had no control over, meant that I was more nervous on the night the episode aired than I was before the pitch! The one thing it did have in common with pitching to others, is that with any set of potential investors the key thing is to make a meaningful connection with them. In the Den I knew I had to give the performance a lifetime and I did everything within my control to be ready and prepared for filming on the day.“
People have asked me whether I would go on Dragons’ Den again …
“… and my honest response is that I would absolutely do it again. I wouldn’t want to miss such a golden opportunity. On my journey to the Den, I learnt so much. All the preparation was invaluable and has stood me in good stead for pitches to other investors. Since filming I have secured £330,000 investment from Velocity Capital, Scottish Enterprise, and a private investor. In fact, some of the feedback I received from the Dragons’ made me even more determined to succeed!”
Securing a big investment outside the Den
“Whilst none of the Dragons invested in Biscuit Tin, the investors we pitched to this time round were specialist tech investors, who understand the financial profiles of tech startups. They saw the potential of Biscuit Tin and were not phased by the losses projected in the first couple of years of the business – all standard stuff for a tech start-up. Biscuit Tin was simply better aligned to their strategies.
This investment will allow the business to forge ahead establishing partnerships and engaging our customers through key hires and some exciting product developments. We are moving ever closer, step by step, to achieving my dream of making Biscuit Tin a global household brand in a world where planning for end of life is the norm, and where we all have ‘virtual’ biscuit tins containing our digital legacies to hand down the generations.”
The next big milestones
“The next big milestones for Biscuit Tin are to engage with as many users as possible, coupled with valuable partnerships, so we can empower as many people as possible to get organised. We will be working to develop Biscuit Tin further, to provide product features that reflect the needs of our customers.
I was also delighted and honoured to have been selected as part of the cohort of Scotland’s top twenty up and coming tech companies travelling to Silicon Valley with StartUp Grind. Funded by the Scottish Tech Ecosystem Fund, I’ve just arrived back from this trip which brought together Scotland’s top startups and scale ups with more than 3,000 of the world’s best. More on that in a future blog!”