Monday 23 October 2017

Most of Gallagher's Dragon deals fail to catch fire

Just two of 11 firms received the agreed investment funds

Tim Rooney, founder of Surf Seeds
Tim Rooney, founder of Surf Seeds
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

JUST two of presidential candidate Sean Gallagher's 11 pledged investments on 'Dragons' Den' have played out as described on TV, the Irish Independent can reveal.

A detailed examination of his promised investments in start-up companies show that most of the entrepreneur's deals with contestants either changed or fell apart completely once the cameras stopped rolling.

In total, Mr Gallagher offered to invest more than €220,000 over the course of three series of the show.

However, the sum he went on to invest in five of the companies after the show had aired was actually closer to €100,000.

The Irish Independent also found that Mr Gallagher never invested, or promised to invest, in any of the companies by himself, always cooperating with another dragon on the show.

Of the 11 companies in which he pledged to invest we found that just two received the investments as billed on television.

Mr Gallagher's and his dragon co-investors' record in the nine other cases is more mixed.

Some, including Dave Roberts of gardening equipment business Grow Rings, felt that the investment offered was unfair -- and walked away.

"It's a regret," said Mr Roberts, who admitted he had second thoughts about getting Mr Gallagher and another dragon involved.

"You don't pay a dog and bark yourself," he said.

Mr Gallagher's spokeswoman admitted the agreements reached on the show were not legally binding.

"It can happen that the contestant or the dragon withdraws the offer when all the contractual details, obligations and financial commitments, due diligence, figures, projections and business plans are examined in detail," she said.

While many of the investments did not work out as planned, few of the companies involved found fault with Mr Gallagher personally.


Some contestants, such as Donal O'Connor of, were delighted with Mr Gallagher's involvement, so much so that he is now volunteering with the campaign.

But just two companies, health food manufacturer Surf Seeds, and Boiler Bleed -- received the full investment agreed on the show.

Three companies --, Huggy Bloom and Grab Radio -- received investments but under different terms. And deals offered to six others failed to work out for a variety of reasons.

Jennylynd James, the owner of one company, the now dissolved Taste of the Caribbean Sauces, told the Irish Independent she decided not to accept a €20,000 investment from Mr Gallagher and another dragon.

However, Mr Gallagher last night said the investment did proceed.

Tim Rooney of Surf Seeds had a different experience working with the dragons and is now also a volunteer on Mr Gallagher's campaign. He said: "He's been very supportive so I see no reason why I shouldn't be supportive of him."

However, another businessman who received investment from Mr Gallagher, Aonghus O'Heocha of smart phone app company Grab Radio, said his experience of working with the dragons was "mixed".

A spokeswoman for Dragons' Den producers Screentime Shinawil said that internationally, the dragons' investments succeeded in about 50pc of cases.

Irish Independent

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