An aerospace engineering graduate has won £100,000 of business investment as a contestant on Sky 1’s The Angel, screened on Tuesday 21 August.
Andy Brown, aged 24, triumphed against four other young entrepreneurs to secure the investment from John Caudwell, best known as the founder of high street mobile phone chain Phones4U.
Andy survived a series of high pressure rounds which combined individual tasks, head to heads, group challenges and a grilling from John designed to test his six golden business attributes: drive, ambition, passion, resilience, commercial intellect and leadership.
Earlier this year Andy launched the Underground Book Club, a free magazine for commuters on the London Underground. It features opening chapters from new novels, and has the backing of leading publishers including Bloomsbury, Penguin and Harper Collins.
Andy was up against contestants looking to launch a new range of children’s dolls, an underwear line, a health business for employees and a caterer specialising in African food.
In a twist to the usual television investment format, the nature of the businesses were not revealed until after the investment had been made, testing the theory that the key to success is the person and not the business.
Andy said: “I was really happy to win, but I’m feeling cautious because I know that there are a lot of details yet to work out before I actually get the investment. The best part of the show for me was the video reveal when everyone actually got to see the magazine.
“The money will mean we can move our circulation from 10,000 copies to 100,000 which will have a big impact on awareness of the magazine. It will also allow me to pay for extravagances absolutely essential for running a business, like food, clothes and rent!”
Looking back on the experience, Andy said: “The studio was really hot. I was nervous the whole time. I felt really tired and didn’t enjoy myself in the first half of the show, in fact after a significantly brutal mauling by the Angel at the end of round two and prior to finding out if I would stay or go I can remember mouthing to my fiancee and friends in the audience that I just wanted to leave. The Angel will be pleased to hear that I never despair in the face of adversity!
“As the show went on I sort of slipped into the role of the underdog and had nothing to lose so I started to be myself and enjoy it.
“I was confident just prior to the announcement that I was going to win. I could tell that I’d captured John’s interest and he wanted to work with me more than Anna, the other contestant.”
Andy took full advantage of the Students’ Unions’ enterprise training during his time at Bath and in March won the student Business Plan Competition. He graduated this summer.
Siobain Hone, Students’ Union Enterprise Manager said: “I’m delighted to see the winner of the Business Plan Competition winning something else! Andy has been determined to get the Underground Book Club off the ground and he’s worked so hard to make it happen – his success is well deserved. It’s a great idea and he’s a great guy. We are very proud of him.”
The Underground Book Club is now on its fourth edition and so far 30,000 copies have been distributed at stations in and around London. A free iPad edition is available to download from the website and email updates will give information about when the next issue will be available.