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Dragons’ Den pitch branded ‘disaster’ before founders sold business for £40million | Personal Finance | Finance


Among the many brands to have entered the Den is Pasta Evangelists. Co-founders Finn Lagun and Alessandro Savelli’s time on Dragons’ Den aired in 2018, in search of £75,000 in exchange for a 2.5 percent equity stake within the business. Pasta Evangelists makes artisanal fresh pasta, which is accessible for home delivery and subscriptions.

During their pitch five years ago, the duo said that inside the past 18 months, that they had sold cumulatively greater than 22,000 portions of pasta to greater than 4,500 customers across the UK.

Getting a flavour of the business, Dragon Peter Jones asked how the pasta differed from offerings sold in supermarkets.

Alessandro replied: “You is not going to find those forms of pasta within the supermarkets,” and added: “We’re making products which you’ll be able to’t compare like-for-like.”

The duo explained that at that time, that they had raised so far £500,000, they usually were working on a fundraising round of £1.7million.

At hearing the capital which needed raising, Peter said he was in “shock”.

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They said they thought they’d break even in two years’ time, which on the time, can be the yr 2020.

Not impressed by the one and a half percent equity he could find yourself with after further fundraising, Touker Suleyman said: “You do not find out about me do you? I do not get off the bed for one and a half.”

Fellow Dragon Jenny Campbell also had doubts. She told the co-founders she thought it was a “good business lesson in how to not run and arrange a business”.

She added: “I ended writing since the numbers were raining down and it was just going disaster after disaster after disaster.”

Declaring she was out, the dragon claimed: “That is pasta le disaster.”


All five dragons said they’d not invest, with Peter Jones telling the duo: “This shall be a latest one on me if this works, so I’ll say that I’m out.”

Nevertheless, despite the dragons’ decisions within the den, Pasta Evangelists have achieved tremendous success.

In reality, on its website, Pasta Evangelists said they calculate that “around one percent of that evening’s viewers visited the Pasta Evangelists website straight after” and sales almost doubled shortly after the episode aired.

Express.co.uk spoke to the entrepreneurs earlier this yr, with Finn recalling: “They tore us to shreds, they destroyed us they usually didn’t give us the cash.”

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The pair weren’t phased though and in February 2020, their e-commerce business was doing around £200,000 a month online. By March, they were taking about £900,000.

Finn continued: “The web business grew literally overnight and we were all hands on deck, packaging pasta overnight. Our sales grew about 4 or five times.

“Our traffic soared exponentially. We worked as hard as we could to function many purchasers as possible.”

Pasta Evangelists is stocked in Harrods, Ocado, Amazon Fresh and available on Deliveroo, in addition to the three Market Halls in London.

By 2021, Pasta Evangelists had raised as much as £4million, and was turning over £21million. In January 2021, the corporate was sold to the world’s largest pasta company, Barilla – for a reported £40million.

Finn told Express.co.uk: “It was quite an enormous increase. Had the Dragons joined us and invested £75,000 they’d have had an enormous chunk back and made a pleasant return.

“That might have been a possible £800,000 back their initial investment.

“Their return could have increased 10 times based on those figures.”

Dragons’ Den returns on January 5, 2023 at 8pm on BBC One.

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