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Dragons’ Den Theo Paphitis is Ready to Start Investing

29th June 2010

So the budget has finally been announced and the commentators and politicians are in full swing discussing the positives and fallbacks.  Harriet Harman has described it as “reckless” and “unfair” and the Institute of Fiscal Studies has already defined the cuts as the worst “since World War II”.  The coalition is already being tested and Dianne Abbott was not the only one to notice the rather white pallor of the liberals – in contrast to the more jubilant “radiance” of the conservatives – as the budget was being announced.  So the combination of such heavy cutbacks and England’s defeat at the World Cup has the potential for several weeks of doom and gloom.  All we have to cling to is Andy Murray... 

However, never fear.  Theo Paphitis is feeling like a “coiled spring waiting to be released”.  After two years of holding onto his money, he is about to start investing tens of millions after what he sees as a “positive budget”.  Theo started with nothing and made his fortune when he bought the struggling lingerie company La Senza for £1.  He turned the company around and eventually sold it for £100m, leaving the board last year to pursue new ventures.  Theo’s only concern with the budget is the raise in capital gains tax but overall he has given it 8½ out of 10, “There’s no question that lower corporation and small business taxes will boost confidence and encourage entrepreneurship.”  Despite being a heavy-hitter in the retail sector he also remains positive about the rise in Vat to 20%, “People will get used to it very quickly.  If we can keep confidence in the job sector, people will return to their spending patterns.  Besides, it’s not coming into effect until next year so we may see a rise in sales in the short term.”  Theo currently holds a £60m stake in the stationery company Ryman and plans to set up a new lingerie business in March 2011 called DNA Lingerie.  He is looking not only to the European countries of France and Germany for business but also Eastern Europe and the fast-growing economies of the Middle East. 

In the meantime Theo has just finished filming the eighth series of Dragons’ Den for BBC 2 – which will be on our screens next month – and recently presented the BBC series Adventure Capitalists following entrepreneurs in emerging markets including Brazil, India, and Vietnam.  He is currently worth an estimated £160m, with an increase of £15m from last year – quite an incredible achievement for someone who started work as a 16 year old tea boy at Lloyds of London for £20 a week.  Theo talks very honestly and openly about his journey and the losses along the way that have taught him so much including his £150,000 debacle following an investment in the ski firm Satski, to his most lucrative investment in the Den so far, the Magic Whiteboard which functions as a tear-off roll and can stick to any wall.

So if a dose of positivity is what you need right now, Theo’s approach is a refreshing energy boost for the soul - as well as the stationery cupboard! 

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