Marxman has scored investment from TV’s Dragons’ Den, after pitching the business to the panel of five investors on the BBC TV programme.
After generating interest and offers from all of the investors, the duo behind the brand – Jenny and Martin Chard – chose Deborah Meaden’s £50,000 offer for 30% of the business – not the top offer the duo received.
In addition to the investment, Meaden will be partner and mentor for the company.
Jenny Chard, a special abilities school assistant, said: “We had our sights set on Deborah from the very beginning. She’s a fantastic businesswoman with a huge amount of knowledge and experience in this sector that will really help us develop our offering and expand our network.”
Deborah Meaden added: “The best inventions come from people solving a problem that lots of us experience but don’t do anything about. Martin is exceptional in that not only did he recognise and solve the problem through his invention, but he did so in a simple, elegant and affordable way. I can see widespread use of the Marxman with it becoming an essential part of all home and professional tool kits.”
Marxman, which was showcased at last year’s Torque-Expo, is a tool addressing the common problem of being unable to clearly mark a drilling hole, something regularly encountered by professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. With one push the Marxman delivers a burst of brightly coloured chalk that marks any surface ready for drilling or fixing, even at a distance from the wall.
Martin Chard came up with the idea for Marxman six years ago while trying to fit a sink. He couldn’t mark the drilling position on the wall and see the marks clearly so after a few time wasting attempts he reached for a can of black spray paint in desperation and marked it with that. After several other frustrating incidents like this and lots of wasted trips up and down ladders with broken pencils and felt tips not doing the job he started the process of developing Marxman so other workers could benefit.
Once a search of the patent office came back clear in 2009, Marxman began to take shape in 2010 as the first early stage prototype was developed. The first product was sold in 2014 and in March this year the duo secured a contract with trade retailer Wickes.
It was Jenny’s son Oren who came up with the name Marxman and up until recently the family have been manufacturing every unit themselves in order to achieve the level of perfection they wanted to ensure Marxman does the job.
Jenny Chard said: “Being on Dragons’ Den was extremely daunting and we were very nervous, we definitely got flustered when being grilled on the numbers – that’s not our forte!
“We are the first to admit that we have very little business experience and we know we need a lot of help. We’ve been able to get this far thanks to the extraordinary support we’ve had from friends, family and the various businesses big and small we’ve asked advice from along the way. We are extremely grateful to everyone that has believed in Marxman and played a part in our journey so far.”
Jenny and Martin Chard plan to use Deborah’s investment to increase manufacture and grow awareness of the tool.
The Torque industry is no stranger to Dragons’ Den, perhaps most famously with GripIt Fixings winning investment two years ago – again with Deborah Meaden investing in the innovation.
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