Long-running BBC series Dragons’ Den has seen all kinds of pitches from people desperate to get investment from the show’s panel of millionaire business people.
From products that have gained mainstream success, like Reggae Reggae Sauce, to crazy ideas that were doomed to fail, such as Tingatang - an amulet you could wear to show you’re single and ready to mingle - the show has thrown up the brilliant and the downright bizarre.
On Thursday night’s show (13 January), viewers saw someone pitch what is essentially a grassy dog toilet - Piddle Patch - to the Dragons.
But far from making a dog’s dinner of it, founder Rebecca Sloan managed to convince the newest Dragon, Steven Bartlett, to splash £50k on her turfed turd trough product.
So how does Piddle Patch work - and how did it secure investment on the long-running BBC show?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is Piddle Patch?
Piddle Patch is a portable grass toilet for dogs that you can have mailed to your front door.
Designed for those who are toilet training their pooches or live in high-rise apartment blocks, the turfed trays claim to offer a more sustainable solution to existing single-use pads.
The UK-grown turf sits on top of a layer of recycled textiles rather than soil so that dogs don’t leave muddy paw prints around the house.
You can buy Piddle Patch as a one-off for £32.50 or on a subscription basis.
Subscriptions range from a weekly delivery (£27.50) to a monthly one (£30.50).
How did Piddle Patch get investment on Dragons’ Den?
The omens didn’t look great for Piddle Patch when the product was first revealed to the Dragons.
Deborah Meaden asked Peter Jones whether it was “seriously a metal tray with a bit of grass in it”.
Jones replied: “It’s a grass pee blanket.”
After a pitch which highlighted the product’s practical and environmental benefits when compared with conventional single-use puppy toilet training products, Ms Sloan received a typically savage Dragons’ Den grilling.
But she didn’t slip up when questioned about big dog turds, runny puppy poos and how to deal with stool stench.
After hearing how much the product cost, dog-owner Peter Jones criticised Piddle Patch for “costing more to manage what comes out of [the] dog, than what goes in it”.
He declared himself out unusually early.
But the other four Dragons liked the idea and offered Ms Sloan the money.
While Sloan initially asked for £50k in exchange for 10% of her business, fellow dog lover Steven Bartlett’s offer of the money for 25% of the company proved too good to refuse.
His stake will fall to 20% of the company if it achieves its sales and profit targets.
The Social Chain founder revealed the product would help him personally as he lives with his dog Pablo on the top floor of an apartment block.
He said he believed Piddle Patch would market well on social media because people rush to look at doggy content “like flies to a dog poop”.
Ms Sloan said: “Steven’s investment will allow us to fast track the growth of Piddle Patch, as well as launch a number of new products currently in development.
“Steven’s advice, guidance, social media and marketing expertise will be invaluable and I am delighted to be working with him”.
You can watch series 19 of Dragons’ Den via the BBC iPlayer
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