A rags-to-riches entreprenuer who launched his grocery company on Worksop market six years ago faced a notorious panel of multi-millionaire investors on BBC’s Dragon’s Den last week.
Dan Cluderay, who is originally from Worksop, pitched for £150k in funding for his company Approved Food Ltd along with business partner Andy Needham on the episode which aired Sunday 8th February.
Now an online business which turns over millions of pounds a year, Approved Food Ltd sells high street grocery items that are close to or have past their ‘best before’ date- decreasing food waste and offering customers products at discount prices.
Armed with a killer pitch and brimming with enthusiam, the business duo could think of no better time to travel to London and secure the £150k boost.
Dan said: “The episode was filmed in May last year. We had to wait for 12 hours to see the dragons and it seemed to go on forever- it was quite daunting! Though you only see us on screen for about ten minutes, it was a two hour filming session.”
“The Dragons are notorious for being quite icy and scary, but by the end of the pitch we were having a laugh with them. They’re just normal people, really.”
Unfortunately, while the dragons all agreed that Approved Food Ltd ‘definitely had something’, all five opted out of investing in the business.
Peter Jones said: “You’ve done so well with this and you definitely have something. I would want to invest, but perhaps further down the line. It’s just the wrong time.”
Kelly Hoppen said: “I love your confidence and your passion, but I don’t think I’m the right dragon for you.”
Despite not receiving the funding he hoped for, Dan does not regret appearing on the show.
He said: “I started out from scratch on Worksop market and I didn’t give up.”
“We might not have got the investment we wanted, but it was an exhilirating experience and we have had some great feedback from customers. We had tens of thousands of hits on our website after our ordeal!”
Since the episode aired, hits on the firm’s website have rocketed and the business has secured £400,000 in investment and loans. Approved Food Ltd now employs 50 people at its 60,000 sq ft warehouse in Sheffield.