Geography student wows dragons with parking app
A University of Manchester student secured investment after impressing the judges of popular BBC reality show Dragon’s Den.
Harrison Woods, 22, received £60,000 from Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones CBE who split the investment for a 40% stake in Mr Woods’ enterprise, Primal Parking Ltd., a letting agency for privately owned parking spaces throughout the UK.
The website and phone app allows users to search for spaces within a 1-mile radius.
The geography student gave a confident pitch in the den but three of the dragons declared themselves ‘out’ after expressing concerns with the business, citing the fact other companies offer the same service.
Retail magnate Theo Paphitis praised the young entrepreneur’s “cojones” and prophesised his great success in the future.
Mr Paphitis added he was willing to take a “punt” and invest in the project and said, “I want to be there when you make it”.
Mr Woods told The Mancunion, although he gave away double the equity initially offered, he was happy with the outcome, “to be honest I would have given more,” he said.
Despite only a few minutes of airtime, Mr Woods was actually in the studio for over an hour and described the dragons as friendly and positive throughout. He compared the experience to that of waiting for a bungee jump; he was extremely nervous before his “jump into the unknown”.
Mr Woods funded his enterprise through door-to-door sales of parking barriers, which made him £12,000 profit.
When asked what advice he would give entrepreneurial Manchester students, he maintained, “if you believe in a product, you can make others believe in a product. When I bought the barriers at 19 there were lots of people laughing at me, but I knew it could take me to the next step. Trying doesn’t hurt”.