Entrepreneur Dean Tempest knows just what it’s like when the lift doors open and you step into the the Dragons’ Den.
The Wetherby businessman is the creative mind behind trivia game Linkee which challenges players to read out four clues from a card; the first person who spots the Link gets to keep the card which has a letter on the back – and the first to gather enough cards to spell out L-I-N-K-E-E wins.
The game has already been snapped up by John Lewis and online retailer of “cool stuff”, Firebox.
But demand has been so high, Dean and his partners haven’t been able to keep up so this Sunday they will pitch to the Dragons for investment which would allow them to expand their operation.
“Lots of people had already suggested we try Dragons’ Den but it was only when we met some of the programme’s researchers at a trade show and they suggested we audition that we decided we’d go for it,” said Dean. “We all really enjoyed meeting all the other entrepreneurs who were due to pitch that day and we spent ages going through our own over and over again. But all I can really remember when the lift doors opened was that the Dragons were a lot closer than they look on TV – and the rest is a bit of a blur.
“To be honest, I think I just went into auto-pilot so I’m a bit nervous about watching how we did on Sunday!”
Dean’s contract with the BBC prevents him from revealing whether Linkee won the Dragons’ backing but he did confirm he has now left his job as an advertising account manager and is concentrating on developing the game full-time. The research we did before we launched told us people wanted something which doesn’t take ages to set up, doesn’t involve waiting your turn and doesn’t come in a massive and largely-empty box – and that’s what we think we’ve come up with,” he said.
“We started with Linkee by working the trade fairs in Yorkshire – and we’ll certainly be back as it’s always sold best in the areas around our home towns.
“If all goes to plan then we may develop a younger version of the game for kids, which we’ll call Dinky Linkee.
“We’ve already done some research with Rose Court Primary in Headingley and they loved it. They’ve even begun to develop their own version with Linkee clues which are better suited to a younger audience.”
The Dragons’ Den episode featuring Dean, Ben and Tristan is screened at 8pm on Sunday on BBC2.
More information about Linkee – including an opportunity to participate in the game’s development – can be found online at www.playlinkee.com.