Dragons’ Den pitch that made grandfather a millionaire

Dragons' Den: Peter Moule pitches the Chocbox in 2007

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As the hit BBC show, Dragons’ Den, returns for its 20th series tonight (January 5), many budding entrepreneurs will be eagerly anticipating their turn to pitch innovative products before the investors. One grandfather had the same idea in 2007, which later resulted in a multi-million-pound deal and has since been referred to as one of the dragon’s “best-ever investments”.

Hailing from Hertfordshire, Peter Moule’s ingenious invention, the Chocbox, was a patented plastic box designed to safely store electrical wires.

In the den, a deal was comfortably secured with two dragons, Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan, who offered a £150,000 investment in the business for a 36 percent stake.

The investment saw an almost immediate pay-off, with a sales deal worth £25 million being secured shortly after.

That initial sale helped to make Mr Moule a millionaire just three months into his partnership with the dragons, which both Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan still consider to be one of their “best investments” throughout their respective stints on the BBC series, according to Betway.

Explaining the concept behind his pitch, Mr Moule previously told the Daily Mail how he’d invented the Chocbox several years beforehand when new regulations came into force restricting the use of electrical tape on some connections.

The Chocbox protects and insulates standard electrical connector blocks, removing the need to cover them with tape.

Mr Moule said: “Sixty years ago, something called the connector strip was invented and since then people have been putting electrical tape around it. Then a regulation came in that said you can’t leave a bare connector by a wall, so I invented the Chocbox. The connectors simply get pushed into it.”

At the time of the interview, he said that: “Around 75 percent of homes in Britain [had] a connector wrapped in a piece of tape which does not meet current regulations, so the market was huge.”

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The £1 gadget was expected to sell five million units per year in 152 countries during the five-year deal.

The product still ships to 152 countries, but now with an annual sales target of 100 million units, according to the Evening Standard.

Describing his experience on the show, Mr Moule said: “Although I was nervous about appearing on Dragons’ Den, I have always been confident about my product and its potential and I went in with a quietly confident air about me.

“The whole atmosphere puts you under intense pressure and it is a daunting experience, so I was delighted when the Dragons decided to invest in me.”

Mr Caan reminisced about the deal during a post on LinkedIn, describing the Chocbox as his favourite investment. He said: “It’s rare in the den that an entrepreneur comes in with an existing, high-performing business. Peter Moule’s business was already generating excellent revenue.”

Mr Moule had initially been selling the Chocbox in relatively small numbers to electrical distributors through his company Electro Expo Ltd, but he wanted extra funding to break into the domestic and international markets.

Mr Caan’s post continued: “But one of my fellow dragons and I saw something which I believe the other dragons overlooked. Peter was less concerned with acquiring an investment and more concerned with acquiring a mentor.

“He wanted to grow his business internationally, but this was something he had no experience of. He hadn’t done it before and he didn’t have any contacts that could help make that happen.

“For me, it was a no-brainer and it really paid off. I helped Peter secure a multi-million-pound order with a German company that loved the product. They signed an exclusive three-year deal and that contract was a game-changer for the business. After three years, I was able to sell my stake with an excellent profit.”

The first episode of the 20th season of Dragons’ Den airs on Thursday, January 5, 2023.

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