'I couldn't even stand!' BBC Dragons' Den star shares toll of 'THREE-HOUR' pitch before rejecting investment

'I couldn't even stand!' BBC Dragons' Den star shares toll of 'THREE-HOUR' pitch before rejecting investment

BBC Dragons’ Den star told she 'should die' after Peter Jones comment

GB News
Lauren Williams

By Lauren Williams

Published: 20/04/2024

- 09:00

Anna Brightman gave an insight into what it’s really like filming for the BBC series

A Dragon's Den star has opened up on the "three hour" long pitch she and her brother endured whilst appearing on Dragons' Den back in 2019 - before turning down a huge investment.

Anna and William Brightman were pitching their company UpCircle - known as Opitat at the time - and left Touker Soulyman and Tej Lalvani fighting for a piece of their company.

The UpCircle founders were looking for an investment of £50,000 in return for two per cent of the business but asked they be mentored along the way.

When discussing their experience, Brightman explained that there were a couple of things that came as a “massive shock” to what they previously thought the experience was going to be like.

Speaking to GB News, she explained: “It was the amount of time that we were in there, we were in there for over three hours and that was… just the shoes I was wearing I couldn’t even stand.

“We probably went to the back of the room five or six times to renegotiate and when the episode aired, you saw us referencing how complex the negotiation process was but of course, it was edited down to 15 minutes.

Anna and William Brightman

Anna explained they were in the den for three hours pitching


“So you never ever see the level of detail that you go into. I have been to loads of meetings over the years but you never quite have to do on-the-spot economics and maths.

“Just stood in front of the panel like that for hours and hours. Other things I think were roughly in line with what I thought they were going to be, even just being amongst the TV set and realising that the things you have seen on TV for years were in fact not at all as they appear to be.

“The only thing that sucked were the shoes and the floors – all those grooves in between the wood was terrifying.

“Even the lift being made out of cardboard, but yeah it was really fun I had never done something like that.”

Dragons' Den

Touker Souleyman and Tej Lalvani were fighting over the company before they turned down after the show


Despite impressing Souleyman and Lalvani, the brother and sister duo decided that the investment wasn’t for them and explained: “We ended up off air deciding not to proceed with the offers.

“We met with their teams, we renegotiated, we weren’t going to give up on something we had worked so hard for.

“So once we had finished filming we went and met with their teams and we said ‘Ok TV is TV but we want to re-pitch to you the brand that we have been working on behind the scenes and see this as a fresh pitch’.

“This process took months and ultimately in the end we decided that the things that they could offer us, we were doing really well with on our own.

Dragons' Den

Former Dragons' Den star detailed long day of negotiating


“What you have to consider with Dragons’ Den is that it is a massive marketing opportunity to be on BBC One at 9pm for 15mins on a Friday night, and a lot of it is psychology.

“So it was a big priority for us to walk away shaking hands and at least continue the conversation. We still speak to the Dragons now and it is not a firm closed door.”

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