‘Taking me for a ride!’ Dragons’ Den star warns of ‘real issue’ with £250k cycling pitch
Dragon's Den: Peter Jones slams plan for more bikes on the road
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Mr Readman entered the Den in 2015 seeking a £250,000 investment for a 25 percent equity stake in his business Ride25. Ride25 is a cycling trip from UK to Australia in 25 individual chunks.
The package covers everything from food, accommodation, and medical for £1,250 a trip. The cyclists involved would cover around 355 miles in a four-day period when taking part. The business targeted three main groups – corporates, charities, and the consumer cycling market.
In 2015, they aimed to take 1,000 people cycling. In 2018, they predicted having 4,000 cyclists by 2018, with a turnover of £5.3million, and £900,000 net profit.
Mr Readman explained to the Dragons’ that he had already secured 800 people for the trips taking place that year, however he wanted the investment as he believed “there was an opportunity to create a cycling travel brand, that could be much bigger”.
Peter had a “real issue” with the thought of even 500 cyclists “clogging up the road system” at one time.
He said: “I find it difficult enough living out in the country as it is.
“When I see and go through groups of like 50 going down the road, it drives me up the wall.
“You could have a stream of eight hours long worth of cyclists travelling from here to Amsterdam.
“I think that’s b****y annoying.”
Touker Suleyman was confused as to why Mr Readman needed a Dragons’ investment. With 800 people booked to ride that year, he knew that Ride25 had money in the bank already due to taking £250 deposits from each person participating.
Mr Readman explained that the main reason he was there was because he did not have the knowledge to grow a consumer business.
Just as skiing is seen a holiday plan, he wanted people to think the same of cycling.
The £250,000 investment was needed to help finish the cycling route. Mr Readman explained that so far, the money they had in the bank could only create routes to Italy.
At the time, he said they can only fund five of the 25 rides his brand suggests.
Nick Jenkins said he could not invest as he saw the potential for too many losses.
Sarah Willingham also had some concerns about the losses to come, and the amount of planning it would take for the trips. She did not invest.
Deborah Meaden believed that Mr Readman “really had something”, however the logistics for his business were too complicated.
She said: “As you go, you will find that the logistics are tougher than they have been so far, and I think that even the £250,000 that you’re asking for here is a drop in the ocean.
“You are going to need more cash, quite a lot more to do the things that you want to. I can’t invest, I am out.”
Peter thought that Mr Readman was “taking him for a ride”, trying to convince him that the business was worth £1million.
He said: “It isn’t worth £1million, you don’t even have a business right now. Genuinely I’d feel and worry at the fact that you are not quite there yet with the model so for that reason, I am out.”
Mr Suleyman said he liked that Mr Readman was thinking big but thought this would get him in trouble.
He said: “You’re trying to run before you can even walk.
“It’s going to get you in a lot of trouble, and I can’t invest because of the risk factor. I’m out.”
Once Mr Readman had left, Mr Suleyman explained to the Dragons’ that it was the dream of going to Australia that ruined the pitch. If Mr Readman had focussed on perfecting the five routes he already had, it may have been a different story.
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