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Camden duo who turned down historic Dragons’ Den offer smash crowdfunding target

11:34 22 July 2014

Joe Kenyon and Jake Hayman appearing on Dragons

Joe Kenyon and Jake Hayman appearing on Dragons' Den on Sunday night

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Two Camden entrepreneurs who turned down a never-before-seen offer on BBC show Dragons’ Den to instead appeal for funding from the online community have seen their £20,000 target smashed in less than a day.

Jake Hayman, 32, and Joe Kenyon, 28, both former pupils of William Ellis School in Highgate Road, made history on Sunday night after the pitch for their innovative Instagram framing business saw them both offered jobs by Dragon Peter Jones.

Never before seen in the 10-year history of the show, the multi-millionaire tycoon stunned the duo into silence when he asked them to come support him in his role as CEO of photography retailer Jessops.

The pair’s company Frame Again, which was first featured in a Ham&High article back in April, aims to tap into the smartphone photography market by allowing customers to upload, print and frame their favourite mobile snaps directly from their phone, with customised frames delivered to their door.

But the offer of helping build the same kind of service for Peter Jones’ business was not snapped up, despite never being done by a Dragon before.

After tense talks with each other, viewers saw the pair turn him down - instead deciding “1,000 Dragons were better than one”.

They launched their own online crowdfunding campaign and by lunch time on Monday, they had smashed their £20,000 target.

Speaking to the Ham&High just hours later, Joe said: “The office is ridiculously exciting at the moment.

“We’ve sold more frames today than in the entire past six months combined.

“Before you go into the Den, you go through your best scenario and your worst scenario.

“But the offer from Peter was not something we expected.

“The buzz around the studio after our pitch, from runners right up to the producer, was amazing – they knew they’d just seen something never before done in the Den.

“At one point we thought we’d go for it, but we realised the offer from Peter was a sign we were on the right track and a job at Jessops wasn’t really what either of us wanted.”

While broadcast across the country on Sunday, filming for the pitch actually took place in March.

Sworn to secrecy, Joe and Jake were both chosen to feature in the first episode of the show’s 12th season.

“The schedule was absolutely gruelling,” Joe added.

“You wait around for hours, pacing up and down, with just sugar and caffeine keeping you awake.

“The producers also keep you isolated from the Dragons at all times so the first time you see them will be when you walk into the Den.

“Viewers only saw about 10 minutes of our pitch – but we were in there for an hour and a half battling it out with the Dragons.

“There were lots of compliments not shown – as well as some right hooks.”

While the Camden duo haven’t spoken to Peter Jones since turning down his offer, they did recently pay a visit to one of his Jessops in Oxford Street to pose for photographs outside.

With their frames in hand, they made a promise they would return, saying: “We really meant it when we told him we were going to be back to sell him our company once we’ve made it a success.”

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