Frozen food startup gains £50,000 investment from Steven Bartlett
Entrepreneurs Charlie Gilpin and Sam Moss from East London, founders of STOCKED, graced national television screens on Thursday, 8th February 2024, as they pitched their venture on BBC’s Dragons’ Den.
Originating from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, these lifelong friends showcased their nutritious, chef-prepared, award-winning meals, which are conveniently frozen into space-efficient, individually portioned blocks, securing a £50,000 investment from Steven Bartlett for a 6% stake in their business.
Upon entering the Den, Sam (29) and Charlie (30) were eager to face the Dragons. "Looking around and being in the Den feels pretty surreal," Sam remarked, reflecting on their long-standing familiarity with the show. Sam introduced STOCKED, stating: "We make revolutionary meals for modern lives, and we’re here today asking for £50,000 in return for 2% of the business." Charlie elaborated on the universal appeal of their product: "Maybe you’re a busy parent on the school run after a long day of work, or you’re a Dragon at the top of your game listening to two mates pitch you your next investment, either way, we all have less and less time to shop for, and cook, the meals that we love."
Sam highlighted a common freezer dilemma: "We’ve all opened up our freezers to see zip-locked bags filled with god knows what, buried under a pile of freezer-burnt fish fingers, wouldn’t it be great to fill it with useful food that you actually want to eat?" Charlie added: "We make high quality, chef-cooked, award-winning meals with a difference, they’re frozen into handy little blocks." Sam further explained: "These blocks can be transformed back into delicious dishes in under four minutes, with portion size controlled by you, every single time." Charlie concluded the pitch, emphasising the growth potential: "So an investment today will allow us to expand our growing website channel and to create a retail-specific product, we’d love you to join our frozen food revolution and get freezers around the country STOCKED."
Guest Dragon, Emma Grede, complimented the product: "That chilli’s pretty lovely, I’m not gonna lie"; Dragon Sara Davies related to the pitch personally: "You described my life perfectly, I am that busy mam on the school run, and busy Dragon, and I have freeze-burned fish fingers in my freezer; honestly, now you say it, it seems so obvious, that it would be such a great idea from a portion control perspective and you just look at one and think, why has no one ever thought about it before?"
The Dragons initially found the £2.5 million valuation ambitious and were concerned about the brand’s heavy investment in digital marketing impacting profits. However, Steven Bartlett, known for his expertise in disruptive, digital-first brands, saw potential in building a significant digital following and subscription base. "Dragons invest in a business where there is a tall mountain to climb and there is a lot of risk, but the question becomes for a Dragon, is the height of the mountain...does it match the aptitude of the climbers? And quite honestly, I think it does. The valuation is crazy, but I’m the fair Dragon, so I understand that valuations are what they are. There’s a lot of ways I can help." After some negotiation, Sam and Charlie accepted Steven's offer of the full investment for 6% of STOCKED.
Reflecting on their Dragons’ Den journey, Charlie Gilpin remarked: "It was a surreal and amazing experience having grown up watching the show." Sam added: "We couldn't have picked a better Dragon to work with, Steven has an incredible, strong background in nutrition and marketing so we can't wait to start working together, the partnership will allow us to develop a retail product to bring our mission to a whole new audience."
The full episode is available on BBC iPlayer, featuring STOCKED from 16:50: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001w39p/dragons-den-series-21-episode-6
STOCKED Blocks are crafted to significantly reduce kitchen preparation time, offering delicious and nutritious meals that can be quickly transformed back into fresh and tasty dishes. With options inspired by global cuisines and a dedication to variety, including plant-based choices, STOCKED aims to cater to diverse diets and palates. The North West London-based team ensures each Block is delicious and nutritionally balanced, promoting a convenient solution to family meals, student cooking, and creative culinary endeavours.
STOCKED's Kid Friendly Blocks were developed in response to customer demand, offering low-salt, vegetable-rich options suitable for younger palates, thereby making STOCKED an ideal choice for the entire family. With starter packs priced from £44.00, STOCKED provides an accessible, waste-reducing, and diet-friendly eating option.