Over the years I have invested in many companies and mentored many others. Although my broadcasting and writing commitments mean I am no longer in the investment space there are two companies that remain part of our portfolio, the UK-based Ruby & Ginger and Ireland-based Under Stair Storage.
Ruby & Ginger
After a tough pitch to the Dragon’s in 2012, Liz Rhodes and Brenda Farnhill secured €50,000 investment from Norah Casey for 35% of Ruby & GINGER. Ruby & GINGER, co-founded in 2009, has a contemporary and stylish product range of simple, affordable and innovative baby accessories from the ingenious Nappy Purse to the uniquely designed Cosy Car Seat Cover. Since winning investment from Norah, Ruby & GINGER has gone from strength to strength and they are now in over 100 retail outlets and online sites across the UK and Europe including listings in House of Fraser and Halfords.
One of the most exciting investment proposals in the 2012 series of Dragons’ Den was the tough battle between the Dragons who all saw the potential in Smart Storage – a clever under-stair storage solution. In an unusual twist in the Den the heated exchange saw Sean O’Sullivan and Bobby Kerr combining forces to offer engineering entrepreneur Paul Jacob double the money he was seeking for a higher equity stake.
Paul had already got his business off to a great start fitting hundreds of his clever under-stair storage units into Ireland’s homes and he opted to accept the offer from Norah Casey of €65,000 for a 20% equity stake. Since 2012 Smart Storage has continued to grow and expand with the core product constantly being updated and improved. The storage units are now available flat packed for easy self-installation while customer numbers continue to grow both domestically and abroad.