Investors pitch to Scaleups in the Reverse Dragons’ Den

Last week we hosted our first Reverse Dragons Den in partnership with our friends over at Entrepreneurial-Spark (thanks for having us!). The rationale for this fun event was simple: turn the well-known model of entrepreneurs pitching to investors on its head and give our team of entrepreneurs (all of whom have been through this process) the chance to GET THEIR OWN BACK. We wanted to address the imbalance that exists to make investors appear superior in the investment process. There is a stigma and apprehension associated with ‘presenting to investors’ so this is what we wanted to wipe.

From an audience perspective, the purpose of the event was to get investors and representatives from different types of funds to explain their model to an interested audience via the usual mechanism of 5 minute pitch. This gave our audience (consisting mostly of startups and scaleups around Leeds) a valuable opportunity to hear about the different options available to them and also to meet the individuals themselves in an informal setting.

So, how did we do it?

Well…in true LightStart style we managed to pull together some great speakers from within our own network. Our seasoned entrepreneurs (the Dragons) were Mark Walsh from Kwizzbit, Sarah Agar-Brennan from Love Bomb Cushions and Carolyn Pearson from They asked some really interesting and probing questions to each of our investors, echoing the thoughts of our audience members. However, unlike the Dragons we know from BBC2, their breath was luke-warm at most. Cop-outs!

Our investors and pitchers were (in order) Will Schaffer from NorthInvest, Dan Rajkumar from, Colin Glass OBE (private investor and Director of WGN), Jeremy Meadowcroft from BEF and Jonny Sharp from Mercia Fund Managers. The standard of the pitches was notably high and I DID detect some nerves from some of our investors which was gratifying to see! What we ended up with were five very different and clearly explained investment models, ranging from angel investment, peer-to-peer lending and government funds. We clearly have a lot of options available to us in Yorkshire, more than many thought, so this event provided a fun and informal platform to learn about this in great detail but without being another boring investment event (sorry, but it’s true). It was pretty refreshing, if I do say so myself!

Missed it? Check it out!

Anyway, Kane Fulton from Tech North was also there and he filmed the whole event (thanks Kane!) which he edited it down to this three minute summary. Watch it now!

So a huge thanks goes to Kane and to all of our Investors and Dragons for their time and efforts in the event, and also to Natasha and Dan from E-Spark for their support 🙂 The night ended well with an afterparty over the road at Iberica. Apart from some crappy bar service, we all had a great time continuing the mingling and drinking, some more than others – you know who you are!


Although we run fun, interesting networking events a lot, we also do some slightly less social/more serious stuff too. LightStart is a digital design house that specialises in app and website creation and analysis. If you’re someone who has an idea for a digital product, or would like to improve an existing one, we offer free, one-hour, no-strings-attached workshops in which we will analyse your goals step-by- step and provide you with all of the components you will need to create your dream digital product. If you or someone you know needs our help, get in touch with us here or check out our workshops page here. Our friendly team is sat, most likely drinking coffee, and waiting to hear from you.

For all of our other events, check out our events calendar here. We look forward to seeing you soon!