Entrepreneur whose memoir-writing service impressed Dragons’ Den judges reveals he has since REJECTED Tej Lalvani’s £90,000 offer – and has made FIFTEEN times his investment
- Rutger Bruining, from London, founded StoryTerrace in 2015 and appeared on last night’s episode of Dragons Den
- He was offered £90,000 for a 5 per cent stake in his company by Tej Lalvani
- Originally accepted offer for share in StoryTerrace but he later turned it down
- Has since made 15 times the investment and over four million in overall sales
An entrepreneur who impressed the Dragons’ Den judges with his biography writing service has revealed how he turned down Tej Lalvani’s offer after the show – and has gone on to make 15 times his investment.
Rutger Bruining, from London, founded StoryTerrace in 2015, and appeared on last night’s BBC2 show with colleague Theo Brainin, where they wowed the Dragons with their genius idea – and had two offers on the table.
They accepted Lalvani’s £90,000 for a 5 per cent stake in the company – but, in a brave move after the cameras stopped rolling, they walked away from the deal and have since made an additional £1.325 million.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Rutger said: ‘Since agreeing the deal in the Den, we raised 15 times the amount of investment we asked for, at a higher company valuation than we had pitched at the time’.
Rutger Bruining (pictured), from London, founded StoryTerrace in 2015, a service which matches professional ghost-writers to everyday people to help write their stories
He appeared on last night’s BBC2 show with colleague Theo Brainin (pictured left), where they impressed the Dragons with their genius idea – and had two offers on the table
StoryTerrace is a memoir-writing service, which matches professional ghost-writers to everyday people, who are often gifted the opportunity to immortalise their life story by their friends or family.
As well as this, their sales have also doubled since they stepped into the Den, making over £4 million since launching.
After rejecting Touker Suleyman’s offer, Tej made his best attempt at getting their business on side by offering a 5 per cent share in the business for a £90,000 investment, which Rutger accepted.
The businessman explained that it was ‘better for both sides to move on’ following the investment, and while there was no major bust up between either party, the process simply ‘lost momentum’.
The biography writing service gives everyday people the opportunity to immortalise their life story, and is also gifted to them by their friends or family. Pictured, one of StoryTerrace’s customers
There are various categories of writer that customers can pick from – including junior writer to critically acclaimed
‘In the Den, there is only room to agree an investment at a much higher level than you would in a normal business setting’, he said.
‘A couple of months after the recording, Tej and I therefore got together for breakfast. We managed to agree further details around the vesting of his advisory shares.
‘Coming to a satisfactory legal structure for the investment was more complex. In the end the process lost momentum and it was better for both sides to move on.’
Admitting that he was daunted by the prospect of pitching to the Dragons, Rutger confessed that he was originally meant to appear lone, but roped colleague Theo into joining him.
‘Initially I was supposed to pitch alone’, explained Rutger. ‘I’m so glad I managed to persuade the BBC team to have my colleague Theo Brainin join.’
Tej Lalvani (pictured) made his best attempt at getting their business on side by offering a 5 per cent share in the business for a £90,000 investment
‘With the support of the rest of the StoryTerrace team and our advisors, we prepared thoroughly for weeks. Still we were incredibly nervous on the day. We waited for six long hours in the green room.
‘Theo was pacing, a half marathon in steps I would guess, and I was chatting to other contestants to keep my nerves in check. When we heard it was our turn it was a big relief.
‘All of a sudden we were super calm and excited to see the green light so we could step out of the lift and do what we came to Manchester for – to persuade the Dragons and the rest of the UK about the importance of documenting life stories.’
The past 12 months has seen the company double its sales and grow its in-house team to 20 people and have a stable of over 600 professional writers across the globe.
They accepted Lalvani’s £90,000 for a 5 per cent stake in the company after turning down fellow Dragon Touker Suleyman
In a brave move after the cameras stopped rolling, they walked away from the deal and have since made an additional £1.325 million
They hope to expand their staff even further, to include new writers and editors to deal with their demand across the UK, the US, Canada and the Netherlands.
‘By the end of the year, we’re hoping to have over 1,000 high quality writers from a range of backgrounds’, he said.
‘Our goal is to make sure every family starts capturing their life stories and there is a long way to go to achieve that.
‘To do so efficiently, we’re continuing to invest in our software platform where clients, writers and our editorial team work together, including our latest push to make it even easier to set up video calls between writers and customers.’
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