A business that was given the thumbs-down at TV show Dragons’ Den has more than doubled the investment it was asking for after teaming up with a Tyneside business accelerator.
RightClinic - formerly known as TreatmentSaver - was rejected by all five Dragon investors on the BBC show, but then began working with Newcastle-based Ignite, which has helped startups raise over £10m to date.
RightClinic, which combines laser eye surgery and cosmetic treatments, was seeking £100,000 from the Dragons but has now received £250,000 from a venture capital firm for a lower stake in the business than he had been offering the TV moguls.
Chief executive Ganesh Rao, a trained doctor who used to live in Jesmond, Newcastle, said: “I set up RightClinic.com three years ago after being frustrated by the fact that you could compare car insurance online, but there was nothing on the web to help you find the best laser eye surgery and cosmetic surgery clinics – surely your health is a lot more important.
“Taking on the Dragons was a daunting experience, but I’m pleased to say that we’ve bounced back bigger and better. We’ve spent the last year refining our business model and messaging, and on Deborah and Piers’ recommendation our site has had a little makeover of its own, so there’s no hard feelings.
“Our mission over the 12 months is to become the place to find and book the best clinics for treatments such as laser eye surgery, cosmetic surgery, botox and cosmetic dentistry.
“Unlike the NHS, many of these markets remain unregulated and consumers have no markers for comparison other than word of mouth. We’re hoping to change that and create a transparent marketplace that allows consumers to compare clinics and choose the best practitioners possible.
“With the market estimated at £10bn in the UK alone, the investment and support from the team at Forward Partners will help propel RightClinic to the next level.”
Nic Brisbourne, managing partner of Forward Partners, said: “Here at Forward Partners we believe that we’ve spotted potential where the Dragons failed to. Health and beauty services are still a backwater on the internet, and there is big demand for a business that can address this. RightClinic helps customers decide what they need and where to get it. We’re delighted to support Ganesh and the team in their ambition to become the online destination for cosmetic and optical treatments.”
Ignite managing director Paul Smith said: “The team at RightClinic had already demonstrated market opportunity and consumer demand. Working with Ignite, we supported Ganesh in streamlining operations and focussing the proposition, as well as exploring new verticals and markets for expansion.”