Manchester grads bag a cool 100k on Dragon’s Den

Economics and Business grads walk away with 100 grand to invest in student clubbing holiday company

Two Manchester Uni graduates bagged a huge £100,000 investment after appearing on Dragons’ Den on Sunday night

Aden Levin, Piers Linney and Rob Tominey – all Manchester Uni grads

The two recent grads, who set up festival and clubbing holidays for students, walked away from with a cool 100 grand to invest in their company Mainstage Travel.

And they’re living every student’s dream – Mainstage Travel whisks students away on festival and clubbing holidays to Maga, Ayia Napa and the like.

Rob Tominey, 24, and Aden Levin, 25 became friends whilst studying Economics and Business Studies at Manchester. They both wanted to set up their own venture after university and, inspired by the popularity of festivals, launched Mainstage Travel in October 2011 to provide festival style holidays abroad.

And now, they’ve impressed the Dragons with their revenues –  boasting a turnover of £1.6m and a profit of £257,000 in year two, and a projected turnover of £3.5m and £500,000 profit in year three. Rob even posted: “I’m probably not gonna be able to get out of paying for a round any more”.

Within just two years, they have created the successful Takeover brand, which offers holiday-makers a week’s accommodation and a full clubbing entertainment package currently in Magaluf and Ayia Napa, with plans to add Ibiza, Malia and Zante for as little as £120. And they’re also behind Snowboxx – already Europe’s second largest ski festival in Andorra – which offers a full ski and festival package for under 200 quid.

Rob and Aden secured offers from all of the Dragons except Kelly Hoppen who thought their holidays would be full of “gorgeous young kids dressed up as hippies in these wonderful fields” – clearly she has never been to Ayia Napa. To add insult to injury, they even managed to annoy Deborah Meaden by suggesting she was past the clubbing age.

But despite a few minor cock-ups, they were offered the full £100,000 investment by Piers Linney for a 15% equity stake. The pair will use the investment to launch a new ski festival brand.

But the boys aren’t the only successes to come out of Manchester – Piers Linney himself studied Accounting and Law at Manchester uni and went on to be a lawyer, investment banker and now heads the Spinningfields-based outsourcery firm which is the UK’s leading cloud service provider.

Aden said: “Piers totally understood our brand, our market and our values. He is exactly what we now need to help take our company to the next level – young, well-connected and a technology genius.”

And Piers couldn’t help but get excited about the brand, saying: “The combination of Aden and Rob’s market knowledge and entrepreneurial flair has resulted in them reinventing the youth travel market, creating holidays that are genuinely exciting and at a cost way below anything else on the market.”