Childhood friends who created a frozen food innovation together have received a £50k investment after pitching it on Dragons’ Den.
Entrepreneurs Charlie Gilpin and Sam Moss from Tunbridge Wells have secured a deal with multi-millionaire Steven Bartlett.
The pair appeared on the well-known BBC One show last night (February 8).
They are the founders of “STOCKED” – a range of nutritious meals which are frozen into space-saving, personally portioned blocks.
Sam and his buddy Charlie wanted to create bright and attractive meals which slot easily into freezer space for a convenient hack.
Designed to give foodies a huge head-start in the kitchen, they take less than five minutes to heat up and transform back into fresh and tasty meals.
29-year-old Sam says it felt “pretty surreal” being in the den after having grown up watching the show.
He first got the idea for the product from his mum, who used to freeze his food into ice cube trays when he was a kid.
“Maybe you’re a busy parent on the school run after a long day of work, or you’re a dragon at the top of your game listening to two mates pitch you your next investment,” explained Charlie, 30, during their pitch.
“Either way, we all have less and less time to shop for and cook the meals we love.”
Sam added: “We’ve all opened up our freezers to see zip locked bags filled with god knows what, buried under a pile of freezer-burnt fish fingers.
“Wouldn’t it be great to fill it with useful food that you actually want to eat?”
They were asking for a £50,000 investment for 2% of their business – which would allow them to grow their website and create a retail-specific product.
The entrepreneurs, who now both live in East London, work from their kitchen creating new dishes and flavour combinations.
Each STOCKED pack contains eight blocks, enough to make two to four meals.
Choices include Chicken Tinga, Harissa Jackfruit and Pork Rendang, among others.
Dishes containing the frozen food were handed out to dragons Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies and Steven Bartlett.
It was well received by guest star Emma Grede – investor and founding partner of fashion brand Skims and co-founder of Good American.
She commented: “That chilli’s pretty lovely, I’m not going to lie.”
“You described my life perfectly,” Sara Davies said. “I am that busy mum on the school run and busy dragon, and I have freeze-burned fish fingers in my freezer.
“Honestly now you say it, it seems so obvious that it would be such a great idea from a portion control perspective.
“You just look at one and think, why has no one ever throught about it before?”
The dragons called the valuation of £2.5million for their business “really punchy”.
However, they were sceptical after interrogating the figures – with a heavy investment into the brand, kitchen and a third of revenue going on digital marketing affecting profits.
It peaked the interest of investor, speaker and author Steven Bartlett.
The 31-year-old is the co-founder of software platform Thirdweb, as well as marketing and communications company Flight Story.
He said: “Dragons invest in a business where there is a tall mountain to climb and there is a lot of risk.
“But the question becomes for a dragon – is the height of the mountain…does it match the aptitude of the climbers?
“And quite honestly, I think it does. The valuation is crazy, but I’m the fair dragon so I understand that valuations are what they are. There’s a lot of ways I can help.”
Steven went on to offer Sam and Charlie all of the money for 6% of STOCKED.
After chatting at the wall, the entrepreneurs tried to drop the investment to 5% of the business, but eventually agreed to the dragon’s offer.
“It was a surreal and amazing experience having grown up watching the show,” Charlie said.
Sam added: “We couldn’t have picked a better dragon to work with.
“Steven has an incredible, strong background in nutrition and marketing so we can’t wait to start working together.
“The partnership will allow us to develop a retail product to bring our mission to a whole new audience.”