Dragons’ Den contestants are known for over-estimating the value of their businesses – but one entrepreneur who was rejected turned down by TV’s most fearsome panel is serious when he says he believes his company will one day be worth £1 billion.
Marco Hajikypri says his healthy-eating business has gone from strength to strength since he failed to gain investment from the Dragons last year.
In fact, he is so confident about its future prospects he has turned down an offer of £90 million for his business.
WATCH Marco clash with Deborah Meaden on Dragons' Den:
He experienced a rough ride with the notoriously hard-to-please Dragons, and became the latest to irk Deborah Meaden who snapped and said ‘this is like arguing with cotton wool’ when trying to get answers out of the 28-year-old businessman.
But Marco, from Great Barr, believes it was the Dragons who missed out.
His company, Professional Gains Meals, which provides healthy meals tailored to the customer, has since expanded to three units and employees 33 people.
And he is confident the progress will continue over the next few years – so confident he was able to turn down the enormous monstrous £90m offer.
He said: “I have turned down the offer to buy the business, even at that huge figure, because I want to build it up myself.
“Money doesn’t scare me, I know what the value is. I have worked for this business and I know what it will be worth.”
“The business is now valued at around £16m, when the Dragons didn’t even think it was worth £2m.”
Marco told multi-millionaire Peter Jones he would regret his decision not to invest, and perhaps he was right. He said he was glad the Dragons turned him down.
He said: “I gave them an opportunity to feature in my business. We wanted to use the Dragons to increase our sales through networking.
“I’ve certainly proved them wrong. I am glad they turned me down now, as I have done very well without their help.
“I didn’t want their money anyway, I just wanted their contacts, but I’ve worked hard to achieve success on my own.
“I believe they feared me as a businessman because they wanted to take control of my business.”
Customers order tailor-made fresh meals, with balanced protein, carbs, fat and vegetables, such as Italian chicken and sweet potato, salmon and brown rice or beef stew and kale.