Retromixer innovators confident Dragons’ Den appearance will help them strike investment deal
Two Edinburgh innovators are hoping their appearance on last night’s Dragons’ Den will bring them closer to striking an investment deal.
Although University of Edinburgh graduate Artur Napiorowski and his business partner, Denny Schenk, were unsuccessful in persuading the Dragons to part with a five-figure sum, they’re confident their TV pitch will bring them closer to finding a suitable investor.
The dynamic duo presented to a panel comprising Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Nick Jenkins, Sarah Willingham and Touker Suleyman in a bid to secure £45,000 in exchange for a 15 per cent equity stake per cent in their business, Retromixer.
Although they’re still looking for investment to scale up their sales and marketing activity, the pair say their experience on the BBC TV show has proven invaluable in helping to raise awareness of the product.
Together, they have created a new technology which solves an everyday problem for expats and international students.
Their product is a mixing adapter for separate taps for hot and cold water which, as well as being convenient, improves sustainability by reducing water consumption by up to 50 per cent.
Polish-born Napiorowski, who studied at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Engineering, explained: “Separate taps are wasteful and considered by many to be extremely inconvenient.
“This is especially true of foreign visitors, expats, and international students, who aren’t used to this kind of set-up.
“Our product – Retromixer – is inexpensive, quick and easy to install. It’s also compatible with all kinds of spout shapes and is adjustable to different distances between the two taps.
“By connecting the two water streams, Retromixer reduces water consumption by up to 50 per cent.”
The young entrepreneurs, who developed Retromixer with the support of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation’s (ECCI) Low Carbon Ideas Lab, has already been shortlisted for a string of awards, such as The Vibes and LAUNCH.ed’s Inspire Launch Grow Innovation Cup, and came runner up in this year’s E-Club Pitching Competition.
It all really took off for the pair, however, when they launched a crowdfunding campaign on platform Indiegogo and successfully raised more than £4,000 to put Retromixer into production.
With 190 backers and 200 pre-ordered Retromixers, the team realised there was strong demand for such an adapter and produced their first batch of the product, which is now on sale in the Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) shop at Kings Buildings Campus, as well as three other stores.
They were chosen to appear in Series 14, Episode 7 of Dragons’ Den after making it through a tough initial pitching process.
Napiorowski and Schenk are now keen to start producing and selling Retromixer on a larger scale and hope their appearance on Dragons’ Den will help to raise brand awareness.
Schenk said: “We can’t believe we made it onto Dragons’ Den and are really grateful for the opportunity.
“We hope that the exposure will help us find a suitable investor to take Retromixer to the next level.”