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Dragon Peter Jones offers to invest in business

‘I could have made a really bad decision’ says young Scot after turning back on £75,000

Cally RussellYoung Scottish entrepreneur Cally Russell tonight turned his back on a £75,000 investment from television tycoon Peter Jones, and then admitted: “I could have made a really bad decision.”

Jones was the only one of the five panelists on the BBC2 programme Dragons’ Den who was prepared to back Russell’s mobile shopping app, even though he admitted having “no idea whether it is going to be successful or not.”

The media and telecoms millionaire told the 26-year-old from Edinburgh: “I would be really upset if it was sold for £100 million in year or two’s time. I would really regret it. You could be the next Twitter or Snapchat. Who knows? You have made me a potential gambler.”

He offered Russell (pictured above in last night’s episode) all the money he was seeking, but wanted 20% of his Mallzee business rather than the 5% he was prepared to give away. When Russell hesitated Jones offered to reduce the stake to 15% if the business made enough money to pay back his investment.

After taking a break to think over the offer, Russell told Jones (below): “It massively pains me to say I don’t think I can do it.”

He walked away empty-handed, but after the lift doors closed on him, he told presenter Evan Davis: “The lift was the point of no return. I did think about trying to jam the doors open again and going back out.

“I could have made a really bad decision. It was right up there with some of the hardest choices I have made in my life. It is one you have to live with but it won’t be one I will look back on and regret. You make choices and you have to live with them.”

He later revealed that he had done a separate deal with technology giant Samsung. Mallzee will feature in the Samsung app store and a series of other channels.

Peter JonesMallzee has developed an app that allows shoppers to select fashion styles that suit them from 100 retailers. He told the dragons that he had raised £475,000 from other sources and that the company expected to break even this year.

During his presentation, he said Yahoo had named it as one of the six apps that would change the way the world shops, but he admitted that there were flaws in the offering that limited the selection of some items. He said these were being worked on.

He told the panel that he was confident enough in the business’s prospects that he wanted to retire by the time he is 30.

The other dragons well not quite so convinced of its potential. Deborah Meaden asked: “Why is it better? I don’t share your vision.” Kelly Hoppen felt that the target audience of young people still enjoyed browsing in the shops and was not sure they would choose this way to shop.



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