Strategic investor proves to be catalyst for Cumbrian salmon crisp maker

Sea Chips FDMB North West

Sea Chips, the UK’s first salmon skin crisp company, has secured funding from a strategic investor despite turning down an earlier offer on Dragon’s Den. The deal has helped the company to secure a state-of-the-art factory in Maryport, Cumbria.

Viewers of BBC’s Dragon’s Den on Sunday 3rd February would have seen co-founder Daniel Pawson turn down an offer from Touker Suleyman for a £30,000 investment in exchange for 35 per cent of the business.

This proved to be a pivotal moment for the young business, as Sea Chips has since gone on to secure investment from Jonathan Brown, who is the owner of a number of private-label smoked salmon brands and the previous owner of MacKnight Foods.

As well as securing the state-of-the-art Cumbrian factory, the deal also provides the guidance needed to grow the business, and revenues of £1m are now been predicted for the next 18 months.

Speaking of their Dragons Den experience, Daniel Pawson, co-founder of Sea Chips, said: “It was a great experience and exposure opportunity for us but we really didn’t feel Touker was passionate about or understood Sea Chips enough. We simply couldn’t see how he could benefit us to warrant such a large portion of our company (35 per cent) when we were offering just 10 per cent.

“We were looking for a strategic investor and Jonathan had more relevant experience than all of the Dragons. He also hit the headlines in 2017 when he hired five private jets to help get necessary supplies to the Caribbean island of Dominica, which was ravaged by Hurricane Maria just days before – we knew he was the kind of man we wanted to be in business with.

“Our new factory in Cumbria is a huge step for growth in our business and Jonathan has given us a number of new buyer connections, as well as support with marketing costs. Jonathan has also made the move from Miami to Cumbria to put more focus on the business, for which we are wholly grateful.”

Jonathan Brown added: “When I met Dan and Dom, I was immediately impressed by their passion for something I had spent 35 years to learn and how they had managed to turn salmon skin into something so delicious. I knew I wanted to help them from the off-set and was blown away by the amazing results you can get if you put the time into development.

“I am very proud of them both for their dedication, honest passion and for making a partnership between us happen so seamlessly. We are all very excited about the taking Sea Chips to the next level and I look forward to helping them develop the marketing and export side of the business.”