- Leading entrepreneur set to invest £5million in three companies as part of ‘The Next Unicorn’
- World-first investment competition allows the public to invest on the same terms as Watt via Crowdcube partnership
- The BrewDog boss will head up a panel of judges to choose the finalists, alongside the CEO of Scottish Edge, who helped the beer firm get started back in 2007
- Watt reveals he was rejected twice by Dragon’s Den as he creates his own unique investment competition
30TH MARCH, LONDON UK: After creating one business Unicorn already, BrewDog co-founder, James Watt, is putting up £5million of his own cash, in search of the next billion-dollar company.
Using a brand-new investment model where members of the public can also back the chosen companies, Watt’s ‘The Next Unicorn’ search aims to create the next generation of Unicorns, following in the footsteps of his beer company that reached the landmark valuation in 2017.
The BrewDog boss has partnered with the world’s largest equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to receive pitches from a range of European entrepreneurs. He’ll then whittle down entrants with the help of a carefully selected panel, including Crowdcube CEO Matt Cooper, and Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish Edge – which helped the brewing company get started 16 years ago.
Watt also previously sought early funding from Dragons’ Den, but BBCproducers made a last-minute decision to reject the beer firm from entering the Den back in 2009 – denying investors what would have been the most lucrative deal in the show’s history.
BrewDog’s chief reveals that he was actually rejected twice from the Den – the second time more recently, when he was approached and shortlisted to become a Dragon himself, but ultimately didn’t end up getting the seat.
Spurred on by his double rejection, and with a passion a track record for scaling start-ups, the Scottish entrepreneur decided to create his own competition, which will see him invest £1million in three firms, with a further £4million to be unlocked as the winning companies reach certain milestones.
In a world-first, members of the public will then be able to invest in the Unicorns-to-be, doing so on exactly the same terms as Watt.
Commenting on The Next Unicorn launch, James Watt said: “Building and growing businesses is a real passion point for me, and I have learnt so much on my journey getting BrewDog to Unicorn status. Given the current economic climate, it’s never been more important to support companies, and I can’t wait to share my experience with some of the brightest business minds across Europe.”
The submission window for pitches opens Thursday 30th March and runs to Friday 14th April. Shortlisting and judging will take place over a two-week period, before finalists are invited to pitch live to Watt and his panel in London.
The three final companies will then be invited to Las Vegas, where they will receive their funding at BrewDog’s stunning rooftop bar on Friday 26th May. Following the Vegas announcement, the three winning businesses will be live on Crowdcube.com for the public to invest in the deal too.
On top of a cash injection, the competition winners will also each enjoy an unusual day with Watt to test their personal relationship and adaptability in unexpected circumstances. The scenarios include fishing on Watt’s grandfather’s boat, planting trees in the BrewDog Lost Forest and working a day pulling pints at the beer firm’s Camden bar.
Matt Cooper Co-CEO of Crowdcube commented: “We’ve transformed retail investing by creating more pathways for investors to invest in high-performing private companies than ever before. Now, with our partnership, the public can invest alongside leading entrepreneur James Watt in the search for Europe’s next unicorn.”
Watt added: “What’s truly unique about this competition, is that it’s not just about watching me invest my own money in someone else’s business. Thanks to Crowdcube, anyone can invest in these companies too, and on the exact same terms as my investment.
“The window for entries is a short one, so if you’ve got a business that has potential to reach a billion-dollar valuation, I want to hear from you. All you need to do is head to Crowdcube and submit a 10-slide deck – I can’t wait to see the pitches!”
To find out more, and to enter The Next Unicorn competition, visit: