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TV guru pulls investment

Dragon Jones withdraws backing for Scots device

Lupo
Lupo to Xupo: Raj Sark and Vincenz Klemt (photo by Terry Murden – DB Media Services)

Tycoon pulls £100,000 support

BBC television dragon Peter Jones has withdrawn his backing to two Strathclyde University graduates.

Mr Jones offered £100,000 to the pair to develop their small pocketable fob which helps find lost personal items such as keys, bags, or laptops.

Later he tweeted that the offer had not gone through.

Raj Sark, 31, and 28-year-old Vincenz Klemt, whose start-up Connect-In has developed the Bluetooth tracker Xupo, presented their device on the programme on Sunday night.

Known originally as Lupo, the casino chip-sized device helps locate items that are easily, and most often, lost. It communicates with a smartphone app via a Bluetooth Smart sensor.

Sark and Klemt combined their engineering and business skills with practical thinking to design, develop and prototype a wireless tracking sensor.  They went through he Entrepreneurial Spark programme in Glasgow and launched the device in 2014.

Peter Jones tweet

They raised £27,488 through a crowdfunding campaign with Kickstarter and last year secured £10,000 from Scottish Edge.

After hearing their presentation on Dragons’ Den Jones offered his six-figure sum in exchange for 30% of the business to help increase marketing spend and capture market share. Sark and Klemt are forecasting £1 million in revenues in the next year.

Klemt hoped the investment would help the company strengthen its position in the UK and expand into Germany and France, followed by Italy and Spain.

He later admitted negotiations had broken down “off camera”. He said: “There were some technological questions which have now been resolved. Obviously, we would have been thrilled to have him on board – a man of his experience – he is a very inspiring man.”

> Daily Business comment: This story should have been a moment to savour. Instead it leaves a bad taste. Their success in receiving a six-figure sum in front of millions of television viewers was notified to the media under a 9pm embargo.

It later transpired that Jones had pulled his investment. It is understood the programme was recorded last month and it is not known when Jones informed Sark and Klemt about his decision, but they must have been told before the programme was broadcast. 

Questions remain about why the BBC allowed its own bulletins and other media to continue running the story about the pair’s success until mid-morning.



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