Mauled by dragons but Adam has last laugh

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Adam Ewart is celebrating his 'angel's' investment.

An entrepreneur sent packing by the TV investors of Dragons’ Den is celebrating after scooping tens of thousands of pounds in support from a source much closer to home.

Belfast-based “angel” funding firm Lough Shore Investments will pump the cash into SendmyBag, founded in 2010 by Adam Ewart (27) , who appeared in the first episode of the new series on Sunday night.

Mr Ewart came up with the idea for SendmyBag, a door-to-door baggage transportation service after helping his now wife, Rebecca travel home from university.

After dragging suitcases along Oxford’s cobbled streets, sitting on a coach for three hours and being fined £60 at Gatwick airport because one of the suitcases was 3kgs over the limit, he decided to investigate a cheaper and more hassle-free way to transport baggage and sketched out his business idea on the plane home.

However, his on-air request for £100,000 investment in return for 5% equity was rejected and his valuation of the startup at £2m was branded “ridiculous, ludicrous, stupid and insane”.

But now Mr Ewart is now laughing all the way to the bank.

“SendmyBag has been growing steadily for a number of years as a service primarily aimed at the student market, as they travel to and from university,” he said.

“However, a much larger opportunity has presented itself as consumers respond to increased charges for airline baggage.

“Our aim is to put the joy back into travel and remove the financial, emotional and psychological stress from the experience, whether we are dealing with leisure fliers, travel operators, business travellers, families or students.

“I got a bit of a mauling but it was something I was expecting,” he said.

“Duncan Bannatyne came closest to making an offer, he asked lots of good questions that did not make the cut for the show and I think I can say he is my favourite ‘Dragon’!”

Danny Moore, principal and founder of Lough Shore Investments said that the Dragons will regret missing out on a big opportunity.

“Adam is one of the finest young entrepreneurs I have ever had the pleasure to work with and will, I have no doubt, soon stand alongside some of Northern Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs,” he said.

He added that with fees for excess and checked luggage reaching the billions and with Ryanair planning to operate a ‘hand-luggage only’ service in the near future, the opportunities for the business are clear.