About Dragons' Den
First launched in Japan, Dragons' Den is now an international brand with versions airing in countries across the globe.
For series twelve the five Dragons were Duncan Bannatyne, Kelly Hoppen, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones and Piers Linney. In series thirteen, three new Dragons were introduced. To read more about the history of the Den from Series 1 onwards, and to recall some of the classic pitches, visit the Dragons' Den archive site.
Like any good institution, Dragons' Den relies on rules. Without these, the Den would be a much more chaotic place. Presenter Evan Davies will often refer to these rules during his commentary. Here are the basics - the eight golden rules that shape presentations and negotiations.
Entrepreneurs must start the meeting by stating their name, the name of the business, the amount of money they are pitching for and the percentage of equity they are willing to give away in their company. They must follow this with a pitch of up to three minutes. If it exceeds three minutes, the Dragons can stop entrepreneurs at any point but they cannot interrupt the initial pitch.
Entrepreneurs DO NOT have to answer all the questions asked, but what they do or do not choose to answer may affect the outcome - for example, if they refuse to reveal net profits. They may ask the Dragons any questions that help them determine whether they are suitable investors for their business. It is important to note that anything that is discussed in the Den can be potentially broadcast.
Entrepreneurs' time in the Den is over after all five Dragons have declared themselves 'out'. Also, once a Dragon has declared his or herself 'out', they MUST NOT re-enter negotiation on the deal, and unless there is a compelling reason, they should remain quiet and leave the others to pursue the negotiations.
The entrepreneur must secure at least the total amount they have asked for at the beginning of the pitch. If a Dragon offers less than the full amount, the entrepreneur must try and make up the total by securing an investment from one or more of the remaining Dragons. Each entrepreneur must leave the Den with at least the full amount they asked for or they exit empty-handed. The entrepreneur can negotiate more money than was originally requested, as this is usually to redress the sticking point of an entrepreneur giving up more equity than was initially offered.