Smart cookies bring in the dough TV 'dragons' declined


THERE IS life after being rejected by Dragons’ Den. Two months after walking away from the programme with nothing, confectionery company Kooky Dough has signed a €550,000 deal to provide two new own-brand cookie dough lines for Tesco in the UK and Ireland.

The contract will create 10 new jobs.

The founders of Kooky Dough, Graham Clarke and Sophie Morris, got short shrift from four of the five judges on an episode of Dragons’ Denthat was broadcast on Sunday.

They were looking for €70,000 for a 10 per cent share of the company,

Only dragon Gavin Duffy was impressed and offered them €70,000 for a 30 per cent stake. They offered him 20 per cent, he countered with 25 per cent, but both he and the other judges were incredulous when they rejected his offer.

Fellow dragon Norah Casey said Mr Duffy had “got away lightly”.

The judges did not know the pair were in negotiations with Tesco to expand into the British market. “We were not allowed to mention it and that was quite frustrating for us,” Ms Morris said. She explained that their ceiling was 20 per cent and both had agreed not to go above that, come what may. “We are really confident in our company. We have done so much in such a short period of time.”

Mr Clarke and Ms Morris met while working for a wealth management company in Dublin and founded Kooky Dough after being made redundant. He had the idea, and she had the baking skills. They launched into their first outlet in March last year and now retail in 65 outlets, including Dunnes Stores, Superquinn and Tesco Ireland. The deal with Tesco will see their product stocked in an additional 280 stores in the UK.

In the programme broadcast on Sunday, dragon Niall O’Farrell said their profit projections were “very, very poor”. Seán Gallagher said he did not expect to get any of his “own dough” back. Continuing the metaphor, Bobby Kerr said their figures were “half-baked”, and Ms Casey said she had lost faith in the company’s valuations.

Yesterday, Mr Duffy said he did not regret not taking up their offer for a 20 per cent stake because it would have involved too much commitment on his part for the time he would have had to devote to it. However, he felt vindicated he had offered the money.

“I knew there was huge potential in the room and this was going to fly. It was what I called a ten-banger. Whatever was invested you would have got a ten-fold return on,” he said.