Is this the most successful Dragons' Den reject ever?

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Trunki

A Bristol inventor may have the most successful business ever to have been turned down by the Dragons on the BBC show 'Dragons Den'. He invented the Trunki in 1997 and went to the Dragons for an investment in 2006.

Since being turned down, his business has taken off, so is he the show's most successful reject?


Rob Law, from Clifton in Bristol, took the suitcases onto the show, asking for a £100,000 investment in return for a 10% share of the company. However, the judges refused after Theo Paphitis managed to pull a handle off one of the cases.

Now, he told the Bristol Post, he has sold 2 million of the cases, and according to the Daily Mail, the company is projected to make £10 million this year. Earlier this year it secured £4 million funding to pay for its expansion plans, and the deal brought Stuart Rose - a former chairman of Hamleys - to the board.

Successful rejects

And he's not the only Dragon's Den reject to have made a success of his business. When John Richardson took his anti-ageing face cream on the show the Dragons called his claims 'Poppycock'. However, Natox has since sold more than 35,000 bottles in 15 countries, and produced more than £3 million in turnover.

Shaun Pulfrey was knocked back in 2007 by the Dragons after pitching his idea for the Tangle Teezer. The product was a cross between a hairbrush and a comb and was branded 'hair-brained'. However, since the show he has sold more than 6 million of the product in 60 countries - and it is stocked by Boots. This year he expects to turnover £15 million.

Natalie Ellis was turned down when she asked for funding to enable her to sell the Road Refresher, the non-spill dog bowl, in America. She has since made £1 million from the product, and has even sold a bowl to Barack Obama for his dog Bo.

But it isn't always a straightforward route to success. Former cabbie Rachel Lowe made a huge success of her Destination London board game - rejected by the Dragons. The year she was on the show it became the best-selling board game at Hamleys and sold a number of spin off versions. Sadly in 2008 a game based on a film was scuppered after the film's release date was put back. The business ran out of funds and she lost everything. However, last year she bounced back with a range called She Who Dares and a relaunch of the board game, and her business prospects are on the up again.

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