Dragons’ Den star Piers Linney invests in Vini & Bal’s curry sauce
Vini & Bal’s rustic Indian curry sauces secures £50,000 investment on BBC’s Dragons’ Den
A former City worker Vini Aujla (previously InvestmentManager at RIT Capital) and her husband Bal have become the first British Asian couple to secure investment on BBC2’sDragons’ Den, receiving a £50,000 investment for a share in their chilled Indian cook-in curry sauce brand Vini & Bal’s(www.viniandbals.com). The episode aired on Sunday 9th February with the deal arriving after a three hour pitch from the husband and wifeteam, both of Punjabi heritage. Despite interest from the show’s veterans Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden, it was new Dragon and accomplished businessman Piers Linney who won the day, providing £50,000 in funds for a 30% equity share in the business.
Following this investment, Vini & Bal’s has secured a nationwide listing in Sainsbury’s and is now available at 300 stores in the fresh meat aisle, with three varieties from the range: Fiery Mirchi, Jeera and Shahi.
Along with his expertise, Piers’ involvement has also provided the capital required to increase production to manage this expanded distribution and improve the branding and marketing efforts.
Vini & Bal’s success shines a spotlight on the existing British Asian entrepreneurial community. Capital for their businessesis typically raised from family members, meaning that Vini &Bal’s route to investment is a rare one.
Vini & Bal’s rustic Indian curry sauces are a range of fresh, chilled Punjabi spice blend bases that allow food lovers to easily create intensely-flavoured, authentic Indian cuisine from scratch in the comfort of their own kitchen.
The range, which consists of four unique varieties, was created using the pair’s traditional family recipes andpromises to revolutionise the curry sauce category, providing an alternative to the gloopy, bland, preservative-packed jars.
New Dragon Piers Linney has had an extensive career in both the telecommunications and technology sectors, yet his decision to buy equity in Vini & Bal’s marks his first foray into the food and drink industry. His decision reflects the positive investment opportunities available in this expanding sector and his confidence in the consumer appeal of theproduct range.
Piers Linney says: “It was clear that Vini and Bal weredetermined to succeed and that together they were a capable team, having already started the business and succeeding in getting the product into some stores with limited resources and capital.
“I immediately recognised that they had spotted a gap in the market. Vini & Bal’s provides consumers with a genuinely authentic Indian culinary experience. By using the finest fresh ingredients and chilling the product, the sauce’s Punjabi flavours are kept intact for a powerful taste, which is worlds apart from competitor brands sold in jars.
“My favourite flavour is Fiery Mirchi. It’s so easy to use the sauce to make a delicious curry, that I have been living off it for months!”
Co-founder Vini Aujla says: “We pitched for investment on Dragons’ Den to secure the capital our business needed to help it grow.
“Before we were joined by Piers, we had successfully launched our brand and secured a number of retailers to sell it. However, to develop the business to the next level we wanted support to help increase our distribution and fund brand development and marketing.
“We’re extremely confident that shoppers will love our range of sauces. Consumers are far more health conscious, with anunderstanding of the importance of eating natural food free from preservatives and additives. By only using fresh ingredients, we can deliver healthy and nutritious sauces, offering an alternative to jars of pre-made sauces that currently saturate shelves.”
Vini & Bal’s sauces are available nationwide via Sainsbury’s,Ocado and Booths (£2.79 RRP per 300g pot).