Billion dollar plan

Watt names 20 firms vying to be next unicorn


James Watt wants to create another unicorn company

A producer of clothing that grows as people grow and a business that believes “every dream is possible” are among the firms that brewer James Watt wants to turn into a billion dollar company.

He has shortlisted 20 companies from 750 who applied for his scheme. More than a dozen are based in London.

Mr Watt launched The Next Unicorn in March after twice being rejected by television’s Dragons’ Den programme and will invest £5 million of his own money in three selected businesses.

They will be chosen from 12 who will be invited to deliver in-person pitches in London on 15 and 16 May. The three winners will be flown out to Las Vegas and Mr Watt will invest £1m in three firms, with a further £4m to be unlocked as they reach certain milestones. 

The Scottish brewer and pubs chain boss has enlisted comedy performer and close friend, Dom Joly and the founder of Contrarian Thinking, Codie Sanchez to help with the process. Crowdcube CEO Matt Cooper, and Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish Edge, did an initial scan.

“We received over 750 applications and I was blown away by the quality of the applications – shortlisting down to 20 was incredibly difficult,” said Mr Watt, whose own company qualifies as a unicorn – a company worth $1bn.

“With The Next Unicorn, I am investing up to £5m of my own money in three businesses. What makes The Next Unicorn completely unique is that anyone can invest alongside me, pound for pound, in exactly the same deals via Crowdcube. 

“All the applicants, whether they make it to the final stages or not, will receive a copy of my book, Business For Punks, some BrewDog vouchers and an invite to an online Q&A with myself and other leading entrepreneurs.”



Sustainable and ethically made clothing and products for businesses, consumers and sports clubs – Cork

Roam Foods

High protein convenience snacks – London


Creates tech accessories, made with a focus on expansion and innovation – London


Vegan, gluten-free and crafted from the finest natural ingredients – London


Lets consumers add products from almost all online retailers, shopping apps, blogs and more. Basket automatically scans thousands of retailers for the best offers – London


Makes epic plant-based chocolate – Altrincham


A Canadian fibre optics company


Refillable natural deodorant – London


Uses your spending to track, reduce and offset your environmental impact – Leeds


Digital detoxes at off-grid cabins for busy people to switch off – London


A sustainable garden-sharing marketplace that allows users in to find a space to grow food in the city – London


Eco-friendly, protective packaging solutions for a range of market sectors including boardsports, drinks, cosmetics, electronics, homeware and commercial – Porthleven, Cornwall

Axioma Europe

Independent damage assessment, on-demand local garages – London

Yum Bug

A range of bug-based meat alternatives – London


An app for last-minute reservations – London


Our mission is to build a 10m strong community of like minded folks who believe every dream is possible – London

Petit Pli

Clothing that grows to expand 7 sizes – equal to 48 months, and for adults, garments that are so versatile they adapt to a wide range of body shapes and sizes, styles, activities and purpose – London

Tallow + Ash

Soap and Cleaning Product Manufacturing – Gloucestershire

Nouveau Wine

Makes accessible, ready-to-drink, low-intervention wines for the casual consumer – London


Virtual dermatology service for personalised prescription skincare – location unknown

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