Entrepreneurs who rejected the Dragons hit financial goldmine

pitch perfect: Sam Coley and Steve Pearce in front of the Dragons but the pair turned down their offers to go it alone. 'Picture: bbc
pitch perfect: Sam Coley and Steve Pearce in front of the Dragons but the pair turned down their offers to go it alone. 'Picture: bbc
Have your say

Two entrepreneurs who turned down a £75,000 investment on a recent Dragons’ Den episode have raised almost ten times that amount.

Steve Pearce and Sam Coley, who are both from Yorkshire, launched TickX, a search engine and comparison site for event tickets, in 2015. The business is seeing revenue growth of 40 per cent month-on-month.

Earlier this month the two childhood friends appeared on an episode of the BBC television show Dragons’ Den.

They asked for £75,000 in return for a five per cent equity in the business. Peter Jones, Nick Jenkins and Touker Suleyman all made offers but for a larger equity stake than both Mr Pearce and Mr Coley were willing to release.

The two tech entrepreneurs have since raised £750,000.

Mr Pearce said: “We received offers from Peter Jones, Nick Jenkins and Touker Suleyman. We felt the offers undervalued the business given the progress that we’ve made up to today and we were confident in the idea so we decided to take the hard decision to turn down the Dragons.

“We have subsequently gone on to raise ten times more than we asked for in the Den. We have brought on board some incredible names so we’re confident that we have made the right decision.”

TickX had been looking for investment when they were approached by the show to pitch to the famous Dragons.

Mr Pearce said: “We ended up on Dragons’ Den after a lady spotted an article about us in the press and she said we’d be a perfect fit for the Dragons’ Den, would we be interested in applying? So we submitted the application and within five minutes received a call.

“We weren’t intending to go on the Dragons’ Den, but when they approached us we were looking for investment and we thought why not grab this golden opportunity to pitch to the famous Dragons.”

He described the experience of facing the Dragons as “intense” and they were surprised by how long they were pitching for.

“We were actually in there for about an hour and a half, which is then subsequently edited down to ten minutes,” he said.

TickX is looking to establish itself as the “Skyscanner of event ticketing”, says Mr Pearce.

He added: “Our unique positioning in the market is that we sit above all the ticket sellers in the market. You can see almost all the events in the UK on one platform.

“Then you can see all the availability of the tickets and you can find the cheapest tickets for it as well. It’s a one-stop shop for event goers.”

The idea for the business came as result of Mr Pearce’s own experience trying to organise nights out to events.

“Me and my friends were struggling to find what events were happening and where to find the cheapest tickets,” he said.

He discussed the idea with his friend Mr Cole, who had experience of running a software company.

The duo decided to put to use this experience and TickX was born.

“We’ve now got 100,000 event goers using our platform each month,” said Mr Pearce. “We’ve started to see really good traction now.”

The business has a varied range of users, from students to theatre goers.

Theatre and sports events are two areas that both Mr Pearce and Mr Coley see “massive” growth potential in.

TickX is also looking to Europe for further growth opportunities.

“The key to growth is having the best technology,” Mr Pearce said. “That’s what is growing our numbers every month.”

In 2015, TickX secured £175,000 of funding from Ministry of Sound.

Ticks all the right boxes

TickX is free for event goers to use.

It receives a small commission from ticket sellers, similar to how comparison sites in other sectors operate.

Mr Pearce said: “We’ve got different kinds of users. We have people who use us to discover what’s happening. Other people use us to compare prices and availability.”