Runner and entrepreneur aiming big after Dragon’s Den investment for caffeine chew

caffeine bullet

by Paul Halford |

The creator of a caffeine chew for endurance runners hopes he can build his business further after appearing on the BBC's Dragon's Den last week and securing an investment.

David Hellard sold 20% of his Caffeine Bullet business for a £60,000 investment after a deal with two dragons on the primetime programme.

David, who hosts popular podcast Bad Boy Running, had the idea for Caffeine Bullet when running across the Sahara desert in the Marathon des Sables. After dropping a caffeine pill in the sand, he wanted a more convenient way to make use of the legal performance-boosting effects of caffeine. He came up with a product he claims releases caffeine into the bloodstream up to three times quicker, kicking in after only five minutes. Each energy chew contains 100g of caffeine – about the same as a decent coffee. Around 5g of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight has been show in experiments to enhance performance in long-distance races.

He went on to the show asking for £60,000 in return for a 5% stake in his company. He made an immediate impression by singing his own promotional ditty and the potential investors enjoyed his his pitch, Touker Suleyman even saying: "Working with you would be a lot of fun."

However, after receiving offers from three of the five dragons, he was given an unusual ultimatum by entrepreneur Steven Bartlett to decide his response within 10 seconds or his proposition would be retracted. After a nervous few seconds, he decided to go with Steven and businessman Peter Jones.

"We're delighted to have two Dragon's onboard," David told Trail Running. "When Steven only gave me 10 seconds to respond to his offer it was pretty tense, but 20% was the number I had in my head going to the Den, so thankfully I've not sold too much of my soul. We've been investing the money in our website, but specifically upgrading our free training plans. Most plans on the internet haven't been upgraded for years and so much has changed in our understanding of training loads, so we're going to be publishing a series of free plans that remove all of the pain points and overloaded weeks from existing plans. We've also got a new product in development, but perfecting it is proving tricky, so don't think it will be out until nearer the autumn."

Caffeine Bullet started as a kickstarter campaign in 2017 and the product went on sale the following year.

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