The BBC are showing a TV program series called “Dragon’s Den”. Despite my interest in fantasy, this is about venture capitalism, not sword & sorcery, albeit with a very British spin. Yesterday, a show went out which sums up the crapness of British industrial management. Each week the show gets a bunch of self-made rich tossers into a loft and asks would-be entrepreneurs to beg them for money to invest in their business.

Yesterday, Kestrel Aerospace, who are building a personal air vehicle based on a proprietary and innovative engine within a craft that looks a bit like the aircraft flown by Arnie in the fim “The 6th Day”. Its a fantastic vision based on scientific intellectual property with true value. They were asking for ¬£70,000 and were turned down. One of the “Dragons” stated that he would wait to buy one. They (actually the only female dragon) did however agree to fund a “Suits You for Girls to go”. See the Dragons Den winners page. While some of the pitch for the money involved the use of feminist rhetoric, this is a tailoring business. Arguably, its a channel business (like Amazon), which is why Rachel Elnaugh invested in it.

kestrel flying car

How come it doesn’t surprise me that a bunch of rich no talents choose a tailoring business over a manufacturing business? It’s part of a British disease, making money by making things of value is too hard & difficult for Britain’s entrepreneurs. Obviously the fact that Kestrel know that they have value means that they won’t be ripped off by the greed of the dragons, so there is no way they can take the micky and take disproportionate equity stakes. Kestrel weren’t desperate enough. This makes Kestrel unattractive to the greedy. I’m surprised that the BBC don’t get Harry Enfield to reprise his “Loadsamoney” character for the show.


Originally published on my Sun/Oracle blog and republished here in Feb 2016.

It unusually attracted several comments,

I saw that show and have to say I disagree. The reason the woman won the money was because the dmonstrated a knowledge of the industry and a clear way to make money. The reason Kestrel Aerospace didn’t was because they wouldn’t be open about their proposition, hiding behind phrases like “I’ve been advised not to talk about that”.

I’d say it’s more to their credit that they wouldn’t invest in something they would buy themselves – they may well have done had they been more comfortable about the personality of the entrepreneur and the strength of their offering.

And remember that they have to work with these guys once they lend the money, so if they don’t trust them, it’s less likely to work. The feminist sisterhood stuff therefore is a factor.

Posted by Ian Miell on February 05, 2005 at 08:57 PM PST

Come on they guy is a dreamer. Check out his web-site Nothing specific. He stated the aircraft was having CAA certification. Does it mean he has a proto type? If so, does it fly. where are the photo’s? No instead he has a whole pile of designs that would make nasa and boeing green with envy and a bunch of computer renderings. Possible? yes. Is he the man? not by judging his web-site.

Posted by Paul on February 09, 2006 at 11:17 AM PST

I looked at the web site and this guy is a Big dreamer. What calcs did they do to get those performance statistics? and how do they expect this thing to become stable with the dynamics of vertical and level flight. How many years has it taken the Osprey to overcome this? Killing people. Look at the inefficiencies of generating electricity using Internal combustion engines. Additional complex flight control systems are required and are expensive to certify. walk away from this one…

Posted by Ben on February 15, 2006 at 06:40 AM PST #



Dragon’s Den & Flying Cars
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One thought on “Dragon’s Den & Flying Cars

  • 6th February 2016 at 7:16 pm

    So 10 years later, it would seem that Kestrel have not built their flying car, although the web site is still going, albeit last posted 9 months ago. It suggests that my commenters may have been right, although I haven’t seen the tailoring company but I am not their demographic.

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