I've been rejected TWICE on Dragons' Den – here's how I'm getting my revenge | The Sun

BREWDOG boss James Watt has announced he will launch a rival to Dragons' Den – after being rejected by the show for a second time.

The chief executive of the craft beer firm said he was devastated after narrowly missing out on becoming one of the Dragons on the BBC show.

James and his Brewdog co-founder Martin Dickie applied to be on Dragons' Den in 2008 when they were looking for investment for their fledgling business.

They did not make it on screen but went on to create the Aberdeenshire-based drinks giant – which has been valued at more than £1.5 billion.

James has now revealed he made it to the final shortlist when the show was searching for new panellists a couple of years ago.

However, the 40-year-old was not chosen after taking part in a screen test with business tycoon Deborah Meaden.

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He said he is now launching an alternative Dragons' Den which will support new businesses seeking start-up finance.

He said: "Some of you may be familiar with the ill-fated story of BrewDog and Dragons' Den.

"In 2008 we applied to Dragons' Den and got as far as the final screen test and we pitched our hearts out before the producers rejected us.

"They deemed Martin and myself not investment worthy. We were totally crushed.

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"We were prepared to offer the Dragons 20 per cent of our business for £100,000. Based on our latest BrewDog valuation, that investment would now be worth over £300 million meaning the Dragons missed out on by far the best deal in Den history."

But they didn't let the rejection get them down.

BrewDog has even hit the headlines – in December, an ad for fruit-flavoured beer was banned for claiming to be “one of your five a day”.

Craft giant Brewdog made the comparison while ­promoting its beers including Lost in Guava and Hazy Jane Passionfruit.

Spurred on by their Dragons' Den rejection, James revealed in 2009 he and Martin launched Equity For Punks, leading a community of over 220,000 amazing investors.

He went on to say: "Our Dragons' Den rejection turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to us.

"But our Dragons' Den story does not end quite there. A couple of years ago the Dragons' Den producers were looking for new Dragons and I found myself on the final shortlist.

Once more, he made it to a final screentest – but fell short at the final hurdle, narrowly missing out on fulfilling one of his lifelong ambitions and becoming a Dragon.

Again, he wasn't willing to let it ruin his chances of success.

James explained: "However, just as in 2008, I decided to use the rejection as a catalyst to try and create something better. I have used the most recent rejection to come up with a brand-new concept when it comes to raising start-up finance.

With BrewDog we have been fortunate enough to build a unicorn, now I want to help others do exactly the same.

Full details of the project are set to be announced today when it is officially launched.

It comes after James was subjected to a vicious online smear campaign which saw him scammed out of £100,000 by his plotting ex, a judge ruled.

Emili Ziem, 29, vowed to “take down” Mr Watt, 40, and set up fake social media pages spreading lies about him – then conned him into paying £25k a time to unmask the sick ‘trolls’.

But then the con artist who scammed the Brewdog bossblew the lot in just five months.

Fraudster Emili Ziem shamelessly told family and pals she’d inherited the cash from her great gran.

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Plenty of other entrepreneurs left the Dragons' Den empty handed – but some savvy former contestants have gone on to earn a fortune anyway.

One unsuccessful candidate's product even went on to build a £65m empire.

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