During their series in the den, Moonpig founder Moon Pig backed six very different businesses, including Double, Slappie, and Mason’s beans. The following are 10 things you should know about him
In the Dragon series from 2013 to 2014, 2015 to 2017
The number of investments made: 6 within Series 13
Invested the most: $100k in Series 13
One of the most successful investments on the show: Mason’s Beans (1960)
As a first-time Den investor, Jenkins invested £842,000 across six different sectors during his first series.
We worked with dating app Double, Slappie watches, baked beans company Masons Beans, dog lead connector Magloc, children’s science show provider Sublime Science, alongside Sarah Willingham, and clothes steamer Fridja, with Deborah Meaden.
Several of his investments were successful following the show, including the £100,000 he invested in Magloc and the £70,000 he invested with Meaden in Fridja.
Masons Beans is now stocked in Fortnum and Mason, Selfridges, Harrods, and Ocado following Jenkins’ investment of £50,000 for 20% equity after three hours of negotiations. The appearance of Birmingham-based businessman David Kendall on the show drove so much traffic to his website that it crashed. During this time, Nick Jenkins invested £50,000 for 45% ownership in the company, which led to major product and brand developments.
A hugely successful online greeting card business, Moonpig.com, was founded by Nick Jenkins, who turned it around with five rounds of investment and eventually sold it to Photobox.com for £120m in 2011 – from which he was paid an estimated £45m.
When Jenkins studied Russian at university, he abandoned plans to join the army to become a commodity trader in Moscow. A death threat motivated the entrepreneur to return to the UK where he spent a year studying for an MBA at Cranfield University. At school, he developed the idea for Moonpig – his nickname.
A frequent angel investor with a focus on e-commerce start-ups, Jenkins has been investing since 2008. Green Energy Options, Boomf.com, The Healthy Holiday Company, English heritage fashion brand Smart Turnout and luxury goods e-commerce site Sheerluxe.com are all companies he has invested in.
Furthermore, Jenkins is actively involved in philanthropic activities outside of his enterprise activities.
Impact Ventures UK is an investment fund focused on solving social issues in the UK by supporting social enterprises and charities. The multimillionaire serves on the fund’s board. Furthermore, he is a trustee of Ark, a charity that supports poor families in West Bengal through enterprise, and a patron of Shiva.
VOOM (now Pitch to Ritch) was run by Richard Branson in 2014, and he assisted the Virgin mogul in selecting the winning start-ups.
You should know these 10 things about Nick Nick Jenkins…
1. For more than 15 years, he has been working in the e-commerce space
A year before the dot-com crash, Jenkins founded the online greetings card business Moonpig in 1999, but survived and built it to revenue of over £40m with expansion into the UK, Australia, and the US.
2. Raising investments is a skill he possesses
A number of private investors have contributed to Moonpig, including Carte Blanche Greetings backer Duncan Spence. In the Den, his experience of being an investee company should prove useful.
3. His school nickname was Moonpig
In the end, Jenkins reverted back to his old school nickname – Moonpig – after spending four days trying to find a domain name with two syllables, that was unique on Google, and was easily recognizable. However, Nick Jenkins insists that it was “sort of despite the nickname. I would have preferred not to use my nickname, but it worked.”
4. His business inspiration came from Tipp-Ex
Jenkins always Tipp-Exed the caption inside greeting cards and replaced it with one of his own, which led him to think about personalized cards. When Moonpig was conceived as a service that could be provided via the internet, it was born.
5. A death threat was once issued to him
As part of Glencore’s sugar operation, Jenkins spent eight years in Moscow as a commodities trader. A death threat was nailed to his door after a client who stole $10m worth of sugar was arrested. He decided to return to the UK. In response to Jenkins’ threat, he said: “The Russians are quite sensible […] if they give you a death threat and you take notice, you won’t get killed.”
6. An MBA is among his qualifications
He attended Cranfield University to enhance his business skills after returning to the UK. Nick Jenkins says he had only a limited understanding of business. According to him, his MBA was extremely beneficial and provided a great environment for bouncing ideas off others.
7. Starting a business isn’t easy, he knows
After Moonpig made a loss for the first five years, Nick Jenkins was able to turn things around by raising investment to keep the business afloat and make a profit – spending 12 years building Moonpig up to exit. A start-up’s success doesn’t happen overnight, he knows.
8. There’s no doubt that he’s a multi-millionaire
Jenkins was said to have received an estimated £45m when Moonpig was sold to Photobox in 2011, and he will be investing that money into promising businesses on the Den.
9. Angel investors are his specialty
In the past seven years, Jenkins has backed a number of early-stage UK businesses, including energy management systems manufacturer Green Energy Options, Boomf.com, The Healthy Holiday Company, English heritage fashion brand Smart Turnout, and luxury goods e-commerce site Sheerluxe.com. It is his ability to create a leading brand from scratch that really sets him apart from other e-tailers. His focus in the Den is likely to be consumer brands.
10. Charity is important to him
Jenkins spent a year running a children’s charity after selling Moonpig and has been heavily involved with three other charities since then. Impact Ventures UK, which supports social enterprises and charities, also has him on its investment committee.