Back in 2005, BBC Manchester came out with the show entitled Dragon’s Den. The show allows entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to a panel of five rich investors, called the dragons. Their aim is to convince at least one of the dragons to provide funding for their proposal in exchange for equity in the firm.
The proposals have to be viable and potentially profitable. After all, what’s the point of going into business if it will not bring in money? Those with viable ideas can negotiate with the dragons on the funding scheme to be followed. Contestants can also pool the funds of the dragons if needed.
Other Prominent Dragons
The program is a great platform for budding entrepreneurs. They have to be armed however with a lot of confidence because the dragons serving as potential angel investors are successful entrepreneurs in their own right. Some of the dragons involved in the show include:
- Deborah Meaden – A British businesswoman who earned her chops in the family holiday business. She has committed$2.5 million to 26 businesses proposed on the show. She has a net worth of $60 million.
- Richard Farleigh – An Australian businessman, he hit it big through investment banking. He has a net worth of $101 million.
- James Caan – A Pakistani-British entrepreneur who made a name for himself in the recruitment industry. He is the founder of Hamilton Bradshaw, a private equity firm based in the United Kingdom. He has a net worth of $107 million.
- Theo Paphitis – A British entrepreneur of Greek Cypriot origin. He earned his wealth from the retail business. He currently has a net worth of over $322 million.
The Wealthiest Person on Dragon’s Den
The wealthiest person in the Dragon’s Den, however, is none other than Peter Jones. The honor used to be a toss up between Jones and fellow dragon Duncan Bannatyne, but a messy divorce and a drop in property values placed a substantial hit on Bannatyne’s net worth.
Jones is a British entrepreneur born on March 18, 1966. He grew up in Maidenhead and studied at Desborough School and The Windsor Boy’s School. By the time he was in his mid 20’s, Jones was already setting up his own business.
He first set up a computer business, marketing the computers under his own name. He also opened his own bar after getting inspired by the Tom Cruise movie entitled Cocktails. By that time, he already had his own comfortable three-bedroom house, as well as cars.
Both businesses failed however. He ended up losing $306,000 after he sold the bar. He was also left with no choice but to sell his house and cars. Jones then had to move back in with his parents.
He picked himself up immediately however. He got a job at Siemens Nixdorf. After saving enough money, he decided to enter a business venture once again. In 1998, he established Phones International Group. The company quickly achieved success, earning revenues of $21 million at the end of its first year, before almost tripling the amount the following year. By the end of its eighth year, its annual turnover was already at an outstanding $230 million, making it one of the fastest growing businesses in Europe.
Diversifying into Other Businesses
Jones smartly spread his money into other baskets. He diversified his interests and bought or set up other companies. Among these are the following:
- Red Letter Days – a gift experience company that Jones bought in 2005. He partnered with Theo Paphitis, who also became a panelist in the Dragon’s Den.
- Wines4Business.com – an online company that specializes in the selling of wines and champagnes to corporate clients.
- Celsius – a specialist recruitment business.
- Wonderland Magazine – a luxury lifestyle and culture magazine.
- Square Mile International – a data provider for marinas.
- The Generating Company – a company that is engaged in contemporary circus.
- Concentrate Design – a company that makes products that can help children concentrate in school.
- Peter Jones TV – a television production company.
- Peter Jones Enterprise Academy – an academy that teaches entrepreneurial abilities in the United Kingdom. It now has several campuses across the nation, including Amersham, Manchester, Oxford and Sheffield.
- Jessops – a photographic retailing company.
In addition, Jones also has equity in iTeddy and Reggae Reggae Sauce. He is also an active property investor, with nine properties from all over the world under his name. These include a huge villa in Portugal and a property in Beverly Hills in California.
Peter Jones on the Tube
Jones is a highly visible entrepreneur. Aside from the many businesses that he runs and the ventures that he has equity in, he has also appeared in a number of television shows. Among them are the following:
- Dragon’s Den – the show started in 2005 and has had nine seasons so far. Jones can be seen on the show not only providing funding and advice, but also arguing regularly with another dragon, Duncan Bannatyne.
- American Inventor – it was originally called The Inventor, but Jones was able to sell it successfully to the American Broadcasting Company, who tweaked the title to American Inventor. Jones served as a judge on the show which became a hit.
- Tycoon – the show is produced by his own television company and aired over ITV. It proved to be mildly successful, as it attracted 2.1 million viewers, a number greater than The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den.
- Peter Jones Meets… – a BBC show where Jones gets to meet and talk with different British entrepreneurs to learn about their backgrounds and success secrets.
Jones has also appeared as a guest in other shows, like Hustle, Celebrity Juice, James Corden’s World Cup Live, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, The Magicians and Top Gear where he appeared in a segment called “Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.”
The last one is appropriate as Jones is an avid collector of classic and luxury cars. These form part of his net worth that is estimated to be at $727 million.
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