Couple saw idea branded ‘ridiculous’ on Dragon’s Den – now a top investment for 2 dragons

Dragons Den winners: The original and the best

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Dragon’s Den investors Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis eventually won the bidding war in the den, gaining £100,000 for a 40 percent share of the company. Magic Whiteboard has been so successful since its inception in 2006 that, in a rare yet stunning move, the couple was able to buy back all of their shares from the dragons in 2014.

Mr and Mrs Westwood went into the den seeking £100,000 for an original 15 percent of their company Magic Whiteboard to scale up their business. 

The pair essentially created a statically-charged portable whiteboard, which sticks to any flat surface without the need of extra adhesives, otherwise working just like an ordinary whiteboard. 

Up until appearing on the show, neither founder was able to break away from their main job to pursue Magic Whiteboard full time, as Mr Westwood worked for the chief executive of a hospital and Mrs Westwood was a commissioning officer employed by the local authority.

Being true to their entrepreneurial spirit, the couple had been bootstrapping the entire business themselves, with Mrs Westwood noting: “I am the distribution network at the moment.”

In a follow-up episode of Dragon’s Den, Mr Westwood explained that this was their main driving force to appear before the dragons as they sought Theo Paphitis’s distribution network expertise. 

Before heading into the heated den, the couple thoroughly prepared themselves and even secured the exclusive distribution and selling rights for Magic Whiteboard.

The Westwoods shared that while they had been selling around 50 rolls of Magic Whiteboard every week, they had received one of their largest international orders of 472 rolls to Norway.

Their expected turnover of £150,000 for the year, and looked to profit  £1.4million in only their third year of business.

After what seemed to be an incredibly well-thought out and informative pitch, the couple was quickly ripped into by multimillion pound entrepreneur Peter jones. 

“This is almost ridiculous, why would I use this?” he asked. 

Mr Westwood attempted to explain that trainers and people in charge of group work could benefit from the product, and Mr Jones rebutted: “They would use a whiteboard.”

Mrs Westwood added that her previous job would have been perfect for the Magic Whiteboard as she had not always previously been to the venues she would be required to present at, making this flexible alternative ideal. 

Hammering the first nail in the coffin in extravagant fashion, Mr Jones took to writing on the couple’s whiteboard that he was out of this deal, after once again branding it “ridiculous”.

Duncan Bannatyne also added his concerns that the market wasn’t large enough to sustain a profitable business.

Despite his worries, Mr Bannatyne, was the first dragon to make an offer, the only concern was that it was £50,000 for 20 percent of the business, half the amount the couple were looking for.

Deborah Meaden quickly put forward her bid for the business, offering the same as Mr Bannatyne. 

Mr Paphitis then also threw his hat into the mix, offering the entire £100,000 the couple had asked for but in exchange for a staggering 40 percent equity. 

Desperate to keep herself in the game, Ms Meaden then made an additional offer to partner with Mr Paphitis. 

Compromising with both dragons, the couple walked away from the den with £100,000 for 40 percent equity shared between the two dragons. 

Since their appearance in 2008, Magic Whiteboard is said to be Ms Meaden and Mr Paphitis’ most successful investment with a £800,000 return. 

In 2014, the Westwoods, now a family of four, bought back their shares from the dragons, regaining full ownership of the business and providing their children with the chance to get those shares in the future. 

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