Inventor and entrepreneur, Tim Morgan faced the Dragon’s as he sought investment for his unique all terrain wheelchair – The Mountain Trike.
After 5 years of design and development, the company began trading in 2011. Morgan, who has a passion for Mountain Biking wanted to design a product that would enable wheelchair users to experience the great outdoors in the same way he does on his Mountain Bike. Morgan’s idea for the wheelchair came about for his final years Master’s project in Innovation and Engineering Design at the University of Bath.
The UK company sells the Mountain Trike direct to customers across the UK, Europe, the rest of the world and more recently into the US. As the company is rapidly expanding, Morgan approached the Dragon’s requesting an investment of £100k for a 5% share in the business – the bulk of the investment was needed to make the very expensive casting tools.
Morgan was joined in the ‘Den’ by one of Mountain Trike’s first customers, Richard Brooks, who was able to demonstrate the product to the Dragon’s. Morgan endured a very intense pitch with some very positive compliments about the Trike’s purpose and performance but questions were raised about the valuation of the company. Eventually Dragon, Deborah Meaden offered Morgan the full investment but for this required 15% of the business.
Talking of his experience in the Den, Morgan says, ‘It was a very tough but exciting experience. I had a good solid pitch and some great testimonials which raised some interesting questions & answers between the Dragon’s and Richard Brooks. I knew it was going to be intense but I am passionate about my product and know it inside out and although they questioned the company’s valuation I am very proud that they applauded the Trike’s purpose and my presentation.’
Morgan, turned down the offer from Meadon as he couldn’t move on the percentage share that himself and the other directors of the business were willing to give up. On learning this the other remaining Dragon’s declared themselves out as they couldn’t offer the required investment for the percentage share on offer for the company.
In response to the offer, Morgan says, ‘It was fantastic to receive an offer from a Dragon and if I’m honest probably better than I expected and whilst I know that the investment would have instantly taken Mountain Trike to the next level, unfortunately, I just couldn’t budge on the percentage share in the company. It was a fantastic experience and amazing to have such positive feedback about the product from such influential people.’
Morgan continues to work full time running the company, managing production and working on future designs. For more information about the product www.mountaintrike.com and if you missed the episode it is available on BBCiPlayer here.