Intern Avenue enters the Den
On Sunday 7th October 2012, Intern Avenue founder, Dupsy Abiola appeared on the BBC's hit show Dragons' Den and became the first ever Recruitment Business in the show's seven year history to be offered investment.
Dupsy, an Oxford Graduate, pitched her innovative hiring platform. It is designed to help employers find and differentiate between student and graduate candidates online in an easy and convenient way. Intern Avenue is an industry first. Unlike job boards and other solutions, it hosts an interactive intern directory for employers looking to find the best available intern candidates that match their business' need.
Intern Avenue was selected out of the thousands of hopefuls who applied to pitch in Season Ten of the show before the revered Dragons - five of UK's most eminent entrepreneurs - Duncan Bannatyne, Hilary Devey, Theo Paphitis, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones.
Dupsy Abiola's thoughts about the show...
I used to watch Dragons' Den when I was at Oxford University. I love the show. It is so dramatic. I always thought that the entrepreneurs who pitch were so brave. I had no possible clue that I would ever be one. The Dragons can be tough, but if you can impress them then the opportunity can be transformative for your business. As a fast moving technology start up, I am always keen to meet with investors. The reality of building something exceptional is that it requires funding. A friend of my mine suggested that I should apply for the show and I figured that it would be an interesting experience. I had already closed two rounds of investment and am always on the lookout for good investors... why not a famous dragon. Dragons notoriously ask for but I was keen to hear what they might offer my business. I am open-minded about opportunities and happy to discuss investment opportunities at Intern Avenue with people who can help it grow. Any investor can get in touch with me here.
When I was selected to appear on Dragons' Den I was really excited and also rather terrified. Knowing that you are going on puts the show in a totally different perspective. There are probably people everywhere who wonder how they would do if they were in the hot spot. It is only when you are there standing in front of those chairs that it all really sinks in. As I descended those famous stairs I remember thinking three things...
- a) Don't fall down the steps and make a fool of yourself
- b) Listen and answer the questions to the best of your ability and...
- c) just be yourself...
I had no idea how things would go but I figured that I would just go out and do my best. That is all anyone can do really. Pitching in the Den takes a lot of guts and plenty of energy. The people at the BBC were wonderful. I have been fortunate to have done many interesting things in my life and this experience will definitely remain a vivid memory. After I had done my two minute pitch, I felt completely relaxed. I have raised investment for Intern Avenue before but going on the Den is not like any investor meeting I have ever been in. The Dragons grasped the business concept quickly and asked great questions. I was pretty confident and prepared for most most of them. What I had not expected was that they would take such an interest in me personally. Questions about myself were really not something that I had been prepared for, but now that it is all said and done, I look back on the experience extremely fondly.
I was pursuing my career as a barrister and starting a business was not a journey that I would have predicted even six months before I quit my job to start Intern Avenue. Our story so far has been pretty unbelievable. I have always been fascinated by the world of business and I read everything about tech and business that I can get my hands on. I thought that the challenge of creating Intern Avenue would be great. Honestly I never really thought that things would develop as quickly and in the way that they have.
The show is a big deal. It is however just the beginning for us.
- Dragons' Den first aired in 2005
- Less than 17% of companies who appear on the show are offered investment
- Average deal value is approximately £96,000
- On average, there are only about 11 deals made each series
Please get in touch if you have any questions. We are keen to hear from potential partners, press, or investors.