A roasting by Dragons’ Den investors has generated an unexpected sales boost for resident Innovation Warehouse gastronauts, Pasta Evangelists.
The purveyors of fine Italian pasta left the Den empty-handed but found that national TV exposure had inadvertently netted them a healthy revenue increase in the days following broadcast in late August.
CEO and co-founder, Alessandro Savelli, and head of marketing Finn Lagun were praised for their premium pasta and romantic brand vision but received a tongue-lashing for offering a bite-size 2.5% share in their business in return for £75,000.
With Dragon veteran Deborah Meaden protesting at the “startling valuation”, it was “pasta la vista” for the duo.
But Savelli walked away with positive feelings about the Dragons’ Den experience. The Pasta Evangelists were invited onto the show by the BBC earlier this year, and after months of hard preparation and due diligence, netted a “marketing bonanza” and superb national exposure.
With viewing figures of 2-3 million, even more people tuned in online to catch up on missed episodes of the highly popular show, now in its 18th year. The Evangelists calculate that around 1% of viewers checked out their website as a result, helping to double sales for the home-delivery business.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for businesses on a tight marketing budget, the lowest-priced way to get nationwide exposure,” says Savelli. “The important thing is that you don’t allow your product or service to be tarnished – the Dragons disapproved of our valuation, not our product”.
He adds that it was an amazing, albeit nerve-wracking, experience overall – but completely different to pitching to normal, real-world institutional or VC investors. Nevertheless, the process of participating in the show was “very serious, detailed and thorough”.
Pasta Evangelists was founded to show that there is much more to pasta than meets the eye: a world of craftsmanship, centuries of artisanal tradition and, above all, some of Italy’s finest dishes.
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