Dragons’ Den watch business slapped up for sale

dragons slappie

A watch business backed by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Nick Jenkins will probably be sold this year.

Slappie, a range of colourful silicon watches aimed mainly at children, secured investment of £50,000 for a 45% stake in the business from Mr Jenkins, who made his fortune as founder of online greeting card company

David Kendall told WatchPro that Slappie has been turned into a highly automated and profitable operation thanks to the support of business angels including Stepan Galaev, an associate of Mr Jenkins, who in turn drew in talent from experts ranging from former M&S executives to people who helped establish Uber.

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“Nick bought in a SWOT team of experts who brought all manor of skills, from design, manufacturing, fashion, retail … by the time Dragon’s Den aired the business had already been transformed,” says Mr Kendall.

Over 20,000 Slappie watches were sold in 2016, generating sufficient profit to reward Mr Jenkins for his investment and to almost repay all the money Mr Kendall had invested.

Around 40% of Slappie watches sold direct to consumer online, the remainder were sold by wholesalers, mainly to other online retailers including Amazon and Wicked Uncle.

Mr Kendall thinks a new owner will be able to take the brand into Spain and the United States, and to build the range with new colours and designs created in collaboration with artists.

The company was valued at £111,111 when it was on Dragon’s Den, and the owner says they are not especially motivated to battle for the highest possible sale price.

“We would rather the business went to somebody with a real passion for the creative potential of Slappie. It is a company that requires 10% of your time on business issues and 90% on creative ideas,” said Mr Galaev.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder