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Dragons' Den: How Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Steven Bartlett and more made their fortunes

Read their incredible stories here...

Dragons' Den judges Touker Suleyman, Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones and Steven Bartlett
Eve Crosbie
TV & Film Writer
Updated: 4 January 2024
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Are you a fan of Dragons' Den? The BBC show, which has been on screens for almost 20 years, gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to change their lives and become outrageously successful businessmen and women. But have you ever wondered how the dragons themselves made their fortunes? We did some investigating and here's what we found out...

Peter Jones

peter jones© Photo: BBC
Peter Jones started his first business at 16

How did Peter Jones make his money?

Peter Jones CBE has always had an eye for business and started his first at age 16, setting up a tennis coaching school. However, the road to success hasn't always been easy; at one point, he had to move back in with his parents after a deal went wrong. 

By the time he'd turned 28, Peter was forced to start from scratch and decided to join a large corporation. By the end of the year, he was running the business in the UK. A milestone moment, in 1998, Peter eventually founded Phones International Group – now known as Data Select – which scored £14 million in sales after the first year of trading, and an eye-watering £44 million in its second.  

Nowadays, Peter works closely with his investment group, PGI, contributing to 100 businesses across publishing, media, television & entertainment, technology, food products, retail and the environment. He's also established the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy – a flagship programme designed to nurture aspiring entrepreneurs in schools and colleges. 

When did Peter Jones join Dragon's Den?

The business mogul joined the programme back in 2005. He has previously spoken about the important impact being part of the show has had on his life. " My role on Dragons' Den since 2005 has been a very important part of my life and has helped me achieve a number of personal goals, not least the creation of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy," he penned on his official website.

What is Peter Jones' net worth?

The fearless dragon boasts an estimated net worth of £1.157 billion as of 2022, putting him at spot 157 in The Sunday Times Rich List.

Sara Davies

Sara Davies posing in the den© Andrew Farrington
Sara Davies started her own crafting company as a student

How did Sara Davies make her money?

Sara Davies made her fortune in the crafting sector. In 2005, when she was just a student, she founded Crafter's Companion from her university bedroom. Spotting a gap in the market for an envelope-making tool for card makers, Sara decided to invent one herself!

With the help of her engineer dad and husband Simon, she grew the business from a kitchen table startup to a £37million business that now sells thousands of crafting must-haves all over the world.

When did Sara Davies join Dragon's Den? 

Sara Davies joined her fellow dragons back in 2019 and, at the time, she was the youngest dragon to ever be on the panel. The entrepreneur originally replaced fellow businesswoman Jenny Campbell, who departed the show after two years. 

What is Sara Davies' net worth?

Sara Davies' net worth is estimated to be around £37 million.

MORE: Dragons' Den stars' rarely-seen wedding photos: Sara Davies, Deborah Meaden and more

READ: Who is Dragons' Den star Steven Bartlett dating? All we know

Deborah Meaden

Deborah Meaden sitting in the board room at Dragons' Den © Photo: BBC
Deborah made her fortune in the leisure park industry

How did Deborah Meaden make her money?

Deborah Meaden launched her first business -  a glass and ceramics import company - when she was just 19. It became hugely successful, supplying the likes of department store Harvey Nichols, but it was in leisure parks that Deborah really made her fortune.

She became Managing Director of Weststar Holidays in the nineties and worked tirelessly before selling the company in 1991 for £33million and still continues to make money as a full-time investor.

When did Deborah Meaden join Dragon's Den?

Deborah joined Dragon's Den in its third series taking over from Rachel Elnaugh in August 2006. 

What is Deborah Meaden's net worth?

Deborah's net worth is estimated to be a whopping £40 million, according to Spear's magazine.

Steven Bartlett

Steven Bartlett sitting in the board room on Dragon's Den © Photo: BBC
Steven dropped out of university to start his business

How did Steven Bartlett make his money?

Most of Steven Bartlett's money comes from being the founder and CEO of the social media marketing agency, The Social Chain. He founded the company in 2014 with co-founder Dom McGregor after dropping out of university. 

The Social Chain now reaches over 200 million millennials across all platforms. The company also has global clients including Apple, McDonald’s, and the BBC. Steven has even become a Sunday Times Bestselling author with his book, Happy Sexy Millionaire

In 2023, three years after he stepped down as CEO, Steven sold The Social Chain for £7.7million. Today, he splits his time between his hugely successful podcast, Diary of a CEO, and his software platform, Thirdweb, which makes it easy to build web3 applications. Steven remains an accomplished investor.

When did Steven Bartlett join Dragon's Den?

Steven is the latest recruit to join the lineup of business leaders. He made his debut on the show in 2022 and at just 28, remains the youngest dragon to do so. 

What is Steven Bartlett's net worth?

Steven's net worth is estimated to be £68 million as of September 2023.

Tej Lalvani

Tej Lalvani sitting in the board room from Dragons' Den© Photo: BBC
Tej Lalvani started his career working for his family business

How did Tej Lalvani make his money?

Former dragon Tej Lalvani started his career working in the warehouse of family business Vitabiotics. His father, Professor Kartar Lalvani, founded the company in 1971 and Tej succeeded him as CEO in the early noughties.

Since taking over the reins, Tej has grown the business into one of the UK's leading and most innovative nutrition companies. 

When did Tej Lalvani join Dragon's Den?

Tej joined Dragon's Den in 2017 and decided to leave the programme in 2021 to work on expanding his business. 

What is Tej Lalvani's net worth?

Tej's net worth is estimated to be £390 million.

Touker Suleyman

touker suleyman© Photo: BBC
Touker Suleyman is a fashion mogul

How did Touker Suleyman make his money?

Touker Suleyman is best known as the founder of the quintessentially British menswear brand Hawes & Curtis and is credited with reinventing the seminal 90s womenswear label, Ghost. But before that, he was working in accountancy.

Realising it wasn't for him, the retail mogul entered into a joint venture with a leather factory and soon after, established a clothing manufacturer supplying some of the biggest names on the British high street.

When did Touker Suleyman join Dragon's Den?

Touker joined his fellow dragons in 2015.

What is Touker Suleyman's net worth?

 Touker is now worth a staggering £200 million, according to Mail Online.

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