When SendmyBag founder and CEO Adam Ewart stepped into the Dragon’s Den on last night’s episode of the UK television show asking for a £100k investment in return for 5% equity, valuing the startup at £2 million, he was promptly sent with his bags packing. ”What investigation have you done to justify the most ridiculous, ludicrous, stupid, insane valuation?”, shouted one of the Dragons. But today the Northern Irish company which helps air travellers travel light by providing a door-to-door luggage delivery service is announcing that it has indeed raised a round of angel funding from the Belfast-based angel investment firm Lough Shore Investments.
Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but sources tell TechCrunch it is around the £100k mark that Ewart unsuccessfully asked for when he pitched to the Dragons. The funding will see SendmyBag expand into key international markets and further develop the startup’s core enabling technology among key suppliers.
Those “key suppliers”, it was revealed on the TV show, include Parcelforce in the UK and FedEx in the U.S. — leading one of the Dragons to ask why Ewart was reinventing the wheel. And it is a legitimate question: What’s stopping travelers who want to bypass the hefty surcharges that airlines impose for extra luggage from going directly to one of the large international couriers.
That said, SendmyBag has a nice domain and a potential brand in the making, along with a significantly narrow focus that will no doubt help with marketing. And certainly, the trend of budget flights that allow hand-luggage only does seem to sit in the company’s favour. On the show, Ewart also talked up SendmyBags’ cash-flow positivity — although he was yet to take a salary — along with his own entrepreneurial chops.
To that end, in a canned statement, Danny Moore, principal and founder of Lough Shore Investments, says: “From the outset, we saw the tremendous potential in both Adam and SendmyBag - it is a potential the Dragons obviously missed and something I think they will soon come to regret. Adam is one of the finest young entrepreneurs I have ever had the pleasure to work with and will, I have no doubt, soon stand alongside some of Northern Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs.”
What do those Dragons know anyway.