Series 3: Episode 4
Name: Thomas Kinsella
Idea: Cut and Curl Scissors
The Pitch: The Cut 'N' Curl scissors is literally a scissors with a twist, it cuts, curls, holds and folds all types of adhesive tape, and it also cuts like a conventional scissors.
Came up with the Idea: Thomas is a keen entrepreneur and is always looking for ways in which to simplify things in life. Many years ago he developed a serious medical condition which resulted in 6 surgeries in 14 days and spending a total of 42 hours in the operating theatre. It was during this time he noted the inordinate amount of time nurses spent on dressing wounds and the difficulties they encountered when applying medical tape i.e. trying to find the start of the tape then finding a scissors to cut the tape. He believed that there had to be a more hygienic way of applying dressings and so he began thinking about ways in which to reduce this risk by focusing on a conventional scissors. He designed an apparatus that could be moulded or fixed onto a conventional scissors that would create a curl or fold onto adhesive tape after cutting; it also held the tape after cutting ready for re-use. After many attempts he came up with the final design for the new multi-purpose Cut 'N' Curl scissors.
Personal Information: Having spent 20 years working in the suspended ceiling industry, Thomas realised there was a gap in the market for an adaptable and easy to use fixing system that could revolutionise the working practices in the industry. He went on to successfully develop and patent the T&T Fixing Systems for tongue and grove paneling which cumulated in him winning the Late Enterprise Show in 1996. Following that he has spent many years developing and refining some of his inventions, one of which is the new multi-purpose Cut 'N' Curl scissors and Medical scissors.
Name: Michael& Jianling Kyle
The Pitch:A food that is good for all occasion translating across all categories under the one brand
Came up with the Idea: Michael and Jianling are both passionate about food, particularly oriental style food. They have converted an oriental style of food into a locally produced food made from locally produced ingredients containing all the main food groups needed for a nutritious diet. In a nutshell Wrapsu is a food that is good for you, easy and delicious, that can be translated across all categories for all occasions under the one brand. They both felt there was a huge need for such a product in the market and along with their daughter they tested and tried several things until finally settling with Wrapsu.
Michael has always been passionate about Science and Technology and in putting enterprise and innovation at the centre of Irish life, complementing and interlinking our traditions in the arts. When young he dreamed of following the sciences to PhD level but did not feel that the area was taken seriously in Ireland at that time in Ireland. After initial studies he went to the University of Oxford as a scholar where he gained masters and later to the University of Cambridge where he worked for a Doctorate.
Jianling is a spirited entrepreneur and has a unique viewpoint of life between China and Europe. She has been greatly influenced by her Mother who migrated to Beijing from the countryside and rose to become the general manager of the largest confectionary company in Beijing with a workforce 1500 strong. Jianling went to University at a time when only 0.3% of high school graduates could go down that route. She studied accountancy and engineering after which she worked in the electronics industry as an accountant. During all her holiday periods in university she worked in her Mother's companies in the production halls. After that she studied to be an economist and found a job at the highest level ministry in China, carrying out very important roles in relation to policy and economic planning. She went to Oxford on a special economics programme (where she meet Michael). Later she worked as a consultant for OECD in Paris and completed graduate degrees in Development Economics (where she was a World Bank scholar) and also in Econometrics at University of East Anglia. When in Oxford, Jianling and Michael met, and had the dream of carrying out a business commercialising a food based on the merits of the dumpling of Jiaozi. Despite the current state of the economy they believe the time is now right to finally carry this aim out.
Name: Paul Roche
Idea: For Sale by Owner
The Pitch: A website listing and "For Sale" sign for people who wish to sell their own property thus avoiding paying a commission to an Agent.
Came up with the Idea: Paul noticed there was a gap in the market for a website for people who wish to sell their own property with the same exposure as listing it with an Auctioneer, but at a cheaper cost. In Ireland, an Auctioneer/Real estate agent is not a legal requirement when selling your own property; Solicitors are legally required when you do agree a sale especially for conveyance purposes. If already with an Auctioneer you can still sell your property yourself depending on the agreement you made when engaging their services. Generally the agreements made in Ireland between Vendors and Auctioneers do not give exclusive sale rights to the one Auctioneer, that is why you will often see multiple signs on the one property where whoever introduces the buyer receive the commission. Paul had noticed how successful similar sites had worked in other countries and so he obtained the .ie domain version of "ForSaleByOwner" for Ireland and the .uk.com version for the UK. He hopes to repeat the success of the site in the UK and Ireland and has launched the site here.
Personal Information: Paul is married to Helena and has a 6 month-old daughter called Angelina. He comes from an Agricultural Engineering background, was involved in property over the last 10 years. More recently he created a Trade & Services Web Directory aimed at Homeowners. He has always been interested in business and property. He also plays golf and is a part-time farmer. He won the Guinness All-Ireland Malting barley grower competition in 1997. Paul has been running his own business since he was 23, mainly Agricultural and Construction machinery sales, hire and repairs. He also was involved in property development and sales but had the foresight to limit his exposure before the big drop in property values. In the last year or more he has been actively involved in developing a trade and services site aimed specifically at homeowners called "Smalljob.ie", it now has over 450 businesses listed with them and are gaining momentum in a very competitive market due to client satisfaction.
Name: Julie Cobbe
Equity: 15% Dealt at: 40%
The Pitch: The Style Fish brand provides women with a long term alternative to individual consultations & personal shoppers. We teach women to do it for themselves & then provide ongoing support through the Style Fish Membership Club.
Came up with the Idea: Julie worked as a substitute teacher for a couple of months and loved it and so she set up style fish as a fashion school to combine her two loves - teaching & fashion! She wanted to provide something that every woman wants but in a modern way. Stylefish does that by combining the fun and 'realness' of the classroom with your ongoing Style Fish Membership through the website.
Personal Information: After trying many different jobs Julie worked as a Wedding Planenr in London and having gotten experience in website management, content management, writing, advertising & completed a Styling & Image Consultanting course she decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition to teach! There are two things that have gotten her onto and through the Den - a belief and passion in her business and a vision for where she wants it to go. She loves fashion and she loves seeing that difference the course makes but she also wants a good sound business that has the potential to grow and develop into a national brand.
Name: Roddy McQuaid
Idea: The Salt Clinic
The Pitch: Allergy and Asthma drug free treatment clinic
Came up with the Idea: In January of this year Roddy brought his two kids who have Asthma for a salt treatment in Maynooth. They found this extremely helpful so he did some further research on it. He found that the Saltclinic is a new concept in Western Europe; it is widely used as a treatment in Eastern Europe for over a hundred years. It can treats most respiratory problems and some skin problems and it is clinically proven. He decided try and open one up in his home village. They opened in May 2010 and have gone from strength to strength ever since.
Personal Information: Roddy is married with three kids. He lives in Omeath, Co. Louth. He went to secondary school in Dundalk and went on to university in Jordanstown, Belfast for Civil Engineering. He completed just one year and decided to take time out of the course and went to New York for a spell. He ended up staying for seven years, during this time he got a green card and then went on and got fully qualified as an electrician. He moved home in 1998 and worked with an Electrical Contractor in Ballina, Co. Mayo. When he left this he set up an internal shop/office fit out company (WFCD Ltd.) which went very well over the boom years and is still running today but only on a small/part time basis. He was one of four founding members of Cuchulainn Gaels GAA Club in 2005 and sat as chair for the first three years and then PRO for the next year.
Name: Dermot Fox
The Pitch: Slapshot is a two player hockey arena designed to be assembled in your garden, yard, beach or can also be set-up indoors. The size of the game is 3 meters by 2 meters.
Came up with the Idea: Dermot came up with the idea while assembling gym mats for a Tae-Kwon-Do class. The mats had a series of holes in them which, to him, made them look like an air hockey table. He thought it would be great to have an air hockey arena that you could stand into and play the game. After some research and a detailed search by a patent attorney, it was established that no game existed. As there wasn't a lot to offer children of the age of 6 plus in this form of garden entertainment, he had his designs drawn up and a prototype was made and Slapshot was created.
Personal Information: Dermot is age 34, married with two boys ages 3 and 1. In college he studied Management accountancy. He then worked for Batchelors Ireland for four years. He started as an assistant cost accountant and was promoted through the ranks to Management Accountant and at which point he decided that accountancy wasn't the career for him so he went back to work with his father's construction company. He has always, through the years, come up with various concepts and he now intends to develop some of these in the years to come.
Name: Matthew John Dent
Idea: The Cake Creator
The Pitch: Unique custom designed cakes, carved and finished to high standards in a variety of categories, wedding cakes, novelty cakes, birthdays, and corporate cakes.
Came up with the Idea: Matthew started his business in a market, this gave him an opportunity to carry out 12 months of market research, after 12 months the business turnover was around ¤56,000. He was selling as many cakes as he could make, he would model all details of the cakes in edible sugar and create the design based upon the customer requests. He offered a full custom designed bride and groom service, where the bride and groom are modelled to incorporate details required by customers, and it was a huge success. With things going so well, he decided to expand and secured a 5 year contract for a 2400 sq ft property staggered over 3 floors. This allowed him to segment the business into the three areas, bakery, products and teaching classes.
The production of these cakes started in 1997 when Matthew Dent worked for a local bakery, whilst at college studying for his A Levels in the UK. Whilst at the bakery he progressed and eventually became sole designer of all celebration cakes for the bakery. It was here that he obtained relevant qualifications for baking and attended evening classes and weekend workshops which gave further qualifications and awards to allow the development of various skilled details to the more advanced Wedding and Novelty cakes. After perfecting the art Matthew was able to physically bake and carve sponge cakes into 3D designs and produce realistic flowers made form sugar. Having trained and completed several hygiene and centra sugar craft courses, Matthew now possesses a keen eye for detail and an artistic approach that would allow for the foundation of a business enterprise.
The benefits of Matthews work is his all round ability to complete every aspect of these cakes, many cake experts specialize in one field, Matthew has mastered several areas and is capable of achieving every aspect of Wedding cakes, novelty cakes etc, for example, baking the cakes, through to icing them, through to complete design work and then finally finalizing the cake by making the sugar decorations to complete the cake.