What it’s like to win Dragons’ Den: Scott Cupit talks to AOL Money

Scott Cupit tells Donna Ferguson what it’s like to win Dragons’ Den, what happens after the handshake and what goes on backstage in this chat on AOL Money:

What happens on the day that you don’t get to see on TV?

They get into the nitty gritty of the business – what the board structure is, for example, how the business actually works – stuff that’s not that interesting to watch on TV. It’s actually quite harrowing because you’ve got five multi-millionaires who know what they’re on about, asking you a lot of questions. It’s tough because you have to be friendly and stay nice to them – but if they find something that bothers them, they can be relentless. One of them gave me quite a hard time about why we use Groupon, for example.

They’re also trying to get their angle on the business – for example, Duncan Ballantyne was more interested in the fitness side of our business, Kelly Hoppen was more interested in the fashion. They asked a lot of questions that got edited out because it was Deborah Meaden who eventually invested.

What are your tips for winning an investment in the Den?

Have a good idea that makes fun TV, as it’s the BBC you have to convince first! You also have to come across as someone who’s going to be good on TV, so be confident and passionate about what you do. And that’s got to be backed up by an understanding of your figures.

I think the Dragons are often investing in the person more than anything else. They ask a lot of questions about you as an individual. For example, they asked about my banking background, how I got into it, how many years I’d done it, what else I’ve done – they wanted to know: was I genuine? Was I humble? Was I credible?

What happened after the handshake?

Deborah Meaden asked to meet me backstage and we had a quick chat. She gave me a hug and said: “I’m really excited about this. You made the right decision.” Then about three days later, her solicitor emailed me and said: Right, let’s sort this out. Even though the BBC does Due Diligence with you before the producers even allow you to go on the show, the Dragon does their own Due Diligence again and their lawyer goes through all your figures. The solicitors are the only people in the world allowed to watch the raw footage so they know everything you said in your pitch and will check that it wasn’t all just made up.

Then you have to negotiate a contract, which means you need your own solicitor at that point. Once you sign that contract, they just put the money into your account!

How involved has Deborah Meaden actually been since the show?

She’s been fantastic. She’ll ring me at least once a week and I’ll meet her whenever she’s in London, in the Ivy restaurant or cool private clubs. The first thing she always says is: “I know you’re at capacity, have you found time for your wife?” She’s lovely. There’s a very human side to Deborah which I really appreciate. And of course, she’s very well-connected. She came to one of our Swing nights recently and she says she’d love to get us a slot on Strictly Come Dancing. I think, like all the Dragons, she’s quite proud of her investments and she’s gunning for us and wanting us do well. She seems to really believe in it and think that we have something special.

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