Dragons' Den returns for its 15th series with two new multi-millionaires entering the fray
Interview with Jenny Campbell
The relationships with the other Dragons are intense. Outside the Den it is fun and friendly but in the Den it’s all business.Jenny Campbell
Are you enjoying being a Dragon?
It’s great fun. I’m enjoying meeting entrepreneurs from so many different sectors while using my knowledge and experience to apply the basic principles of business to each of those opportunities. I’m having a lot of fun, I’ve made some investments, I’ve said "I’m out" quite a lot and had a few sparring matches with the other Dragons along the way so it’s good to be here.
What are your relationships like with the other Dragons?
The relationships with the other Dragons are intense. Outside the Den it is fun and friendly but in the Den it’s all business. We’ve had some alliances built and we’ve had some boxing matches between different Dragons. That’s business and we’re all individuals bringing our sprinkle of Dragonism to the Den.
How did you feel on the first day?
I was excited but also apprehensive. I like to know how things work and then I get into my groove. I soaked that up within about two days and the other Dragons said by the second week Tej and I were both fully fledged Dragons. It didn’t take long for us to feel like part of the team.
What does it take for you to say yes to an entrepreneur?
I try to keep it at the simplest level. I need to understand and like the product. I have to really want to work with that entrepreneur and then it’s the mechanics of can I get in at a suitable price and equity share to make it worthwhile so that I can add real value. Also can I see an exit because I always think it isn’t a strong investment if you don’t realise the investment. They’re the four pillars I’m looking for. That being said I have invested in a business where everything went wrong in the pitch and it didn’t meet my criteria.
Before you started on set did you have a business in mind?
I’ve been asked that a lot and coming from the financial services sector and also a broad entrepreneurial background I’ve seen so many different businesses so I didn’t really have a go-to business. There are businesses where I wouldn’t want to get into that sector - perhaps one I know less about or where I think I can add less value to the business. So I came in with a really open mind. The portfolio of businesses that I’ve said yes to is really broad.
Do you have a dream business?
The dream from the heart and the dream from the head are very different. From the heart it would be something to do with animals and probably dog related. Which is the wrong way to think about it! From the head I don’t mind about the product as long as I like and understand it. My dream from the head is to take a budding entrepreneur to be something that is something ten times what they thought they could be. That is success for me, that without a Dragon they would have carried on running a fairly small business with some growth but with me they realise more potential than they could have ever imagined.
It’s all about the people, the relationship and your trust and belief in them that they can take the business from ordinary to extraordinary with my help.
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