Client profile: Planit Products

A West-based company is forging ahead with its expansion plans after braving the BBC’s Dragons’ Den and rejecting one of the biggest investments the programme has ever seen.

Serial entrepreneur and multi-millionaire James Caan was so impressed with Planit Product’s range of household innovations he offered to plough £200,000 of his own cash into the company.

But Planit Product’s cashflow hasn’t always been so healthy which is why business partners Guy Unwin and Caroline Kavanagh turned to Bristol-based Clifton Asset Management Plc for help.

Caroline, who appeared alongside Guy on the hit BBC 2 show which gives budding business hopefuls three minutes to vie for a slice of the multi-millionaires’ fortunes, said: “The business was going great and our products sell out almost as fast as we can manufacture them, but when we looked to expand and possibly break into the American and Asian markets we hit a brickwall with the banks.”

Planit Products invent and manufacture innovative household goods such as the popular “Toastabag” which can be found on sale in stores including retail giants Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

But, despite its success, the banks would not lend Planit Products the cash it needed to take the business to the next level. “It was an incredibly frustrating time,” said Caroline.

Then the pair heard about Clifton Asset Management Plc, the UK’s leading alternative to business owners’ strategic finance, who showed them how they could access and use their own assets, for instance money sitting in their pension funds.

Caroline said: “Once we were able to do this we had the capital we needed to press ahead with marketing our products in America. It was such a relief because until that point we really had hit a cash crisis.”

While most of the wide-eyed hopefuls who enter the Den in search of investment are sent packing after the ritual humiliation of having their business plans picked apart, Planit Product actually had two of the Dragons fighting over them.

“First Duncan Bannatyne wanted to invest in us for a 50 per cent equity stake, then at the last minute James Caan came in with the same investment, but for a 40 per cent stake, so we went with him, though ultimately that deal fell through.”

She added: “I love the show but always swore I’d never go on. But now we’ve done it we’re absolutely thrilled, our association with someone as high profile as James Caan will open all sorts of doors for us.”

Business

Planit Products invent and manufacture innovative household goods such as the ‘Toastabag’ which can be found on sale in high street supermarkets. But, despite its success, the banks would not lend Planit Products the cash needed to take the business to the next level and break into the US and Asian markets.

Funding needs

Caroline and Guy appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, provoking a bidding war as Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan both offered investments in return for a stake in the company. They initially accepted James Caan’s offer, but when that didn’t come to fruition they started looking round for alternative funding sources. They heard about pensionledfunding.com and decided to use money from their combined pensions and the intellectual property in Planit Products to help build their business.

Result

Caroline said: “Once we were able to do this we had the capital we needed to press ahead with marketing our products in America. It was such a relief because until that point we really had hit a cash crisis.”

Going Forward

Planit Products goods can now be found in stores across the UK and beyond. Guy and Caroline have used an array of different financing to build the business in collaboration with pension-led funding, including: crowd funding, grant funding, export finance, invoice trading and short-term stock finance.

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All companies are registered in England – Registered office: The Pavilions, 69-71 Macrae Road, Ham Green, Bristol BS20 0DD. Clifton Consulting LTD (NO. 07207668) and Clifton Wealth Limited (NO. 07207206) are appointed representatives of Clifton Compliance Services LTD (NO. 06529425) which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.