6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

CEO Interview: Jordan Daykin, Gripit

PUBLISHED: 13:19 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:19 28 August 2018

Jordan Daykin, CEO of GripIt (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

Jordan Daykin, CEO of GripIt (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

© Thousand Word Media

From Dragons’ Den to a £20m business... Frank Tennyson meets a young inventor and businessman giving hope to aspiring creatives

In every interview he gives, much is made of Jordan Daykin’s tender age. In fact, it’s become something of a cliché. But it’s not until you actually meet the Wiltshire-based entrepreneur, that you realise how much he has crammed into his 23 years.

Aged just 13, he and his grandfather invented a plasterboard fixing which a decade later has evolved into a £20m business called Gripit. The story of how Jordan struggled to find a fixing to hang a curtain rail is perhaps familiar, as aged 18 he appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den and explained the genesis of his life-changing invention.

On the show he became the youngest person to secure an investment, successfully persuading Deborah Meaden to invest £80,000 for a 25 per cent stake in his business. Today Gripit is stocked in over 5,000 UK stores and available in 32 countries across the world. As Jordan says, it has been “an interesting journey.”

“My grandad was an engineer and we just went in his shed and invented this thing to solve a problem,” recalls Jordan. “There was no real business idea behind it. But then a few weeks later, after a little bit of research online, I found that there could indeed be a market for this.

“It took another four years to get the product tested, patented, and to arrange some marketing around it, talking to suppliers etc.

“We launched in December 2012 and that was quite surreal because we sent 400 sample packs to all the big DIY or building stores. Four days later I got a call from Screwfix – I nearly fell off my chair! Two and a half weeks further on, we received our first order from them.”

So Gripit as a business was an established concept. But there is no doubt that Jordan’s 2014 appearance on Dragons’ Den was transformative. Jordan explains: “The product was already out there in some 500 stores, so we weren’t a complete start-up but it [Dragons’ Den] took us to a new level.

Jordan Daykin, CEO of GripIt (c) Antony Thompson/TWMJordan Daykin, CEO of GripIt (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

“I had watched the show for years and years although I said I’d never, ever go in it. But there I am, at 18, in front of the Dragons showing them my product. To be perfectly honest, I just thought it was a good way of getting to market – free advertising really.”

Alas, the presentation to the fiery Dragons was not without incident. He was grilled for almost two hours, and Peter Jones declared himself “out” when he managed, on TV, to rip Jordan’s radiator prop off its fixings. Even though the malfunction was due to damp plasterboard, it was a real heart-in-the-mouth moment.

“I was bricking it! But I had seen other people on the show fall apart after their product had failed. I kept it together, argued back and I think Deborah liked that,” says Jordan. “I had complete confidence in what we had created and Deborah tells me she recognised that.”

The relationship with Deborah Meaden has been a valuable one – not a PR stunt, certainly not something that existed purely because of a television programme. To this day, the investor takes an active interest in Gripit and is a constant source of advice and guidance.

Jordan says: “Deborah was a sounding board really. She was quite open in the Den that she didn’t have any knowledge of the building industry. But nine out of ten times when Deborah Meaden rings, someone answers the phone – that’s pretty useful.

“So we sat down and discussed the basics – what would make this business successful. And maybe where with other businesses she had been involved with, she might sit down with them every three months for a board meeting, with us we were talking weekly.

“She was really invested in what we were doing. The good thing about Deborah is she always is there when you need her but at the same time she isn’t breathing down your neck every day. It’s still my business and I get to run it the way I want.”

Jordan Daykin, CEO of GripIt (c) Antony Thompson/TWMJordan Daykin, CEO of GripIt (c) Antony Thompson/TWM

Digging a little deeper into the Jordan Daykin story, it is even more impressive. After a family break up, he left home to live with grandparents at age 13. He departed school at the same time with zero qualifications because of “bullying from teachers”. But a drive and determination that has characterised all of his business career meant he wasn’t about to settle for second best.

“I I had a point to prove,” says Jordan. “I left school with no GCSEs, so I guess I had to do something. My dad said I could go and work for him sweeping the shop floor of his business but I didn’t want to do that.

“So around the same time as the Gripit invention, I started an agency that helped young people find educational tutors either in the evening, the weekend or if they were home-schooled.

“I know when I left school and was looking for tutors for myself, it was really, really difficult. So I designed a website – by learning how to do it on YouTube – and provided a service called Tutor Magnet.

“I’ve recently relaunched it and am looking to build this up over time. I think my own experiences of education and how difficult it can be, gives me a good perspective on what is needed out there.”

In a previous interview Jordan has revealed he – again at 13 – was earning between £2,000 and £3,000 a month in this Tutor Magnet endeavour. But his commitment to the younger generation goes deeper than just monetary reward.

He has recently launched a new enterprise scheme. In this, anyone over 11, and under 16, who has a strong business or creative idea can enter a competition with the hope of winning £30,000. In addition the successful applicant will receive advice and assistance to make the concept a reality.

Jordan Daykin, CEO of GripIt, with one of his production machinesJordan Daykin, CEO of GripIt, with one of his production machines

“Too much pressure on people is to go to university. So I’ve recently set up an enterprise scheme where people under 16 can come and discuss ideas. I see it as something like a creative hub,” says Jordan.

“I like innovation and start-ups. I wish there was someone I could’ve gone to when I was younger, so this is an opportunity to help someone get on the business ladder. I can pass on some of my experience, good and bad. We can look into things like, it is it the right product? Will it sell? And how do you sell it?

“I’m looking at setting something up like a mini Dragons Den – but just not on the telly!”

Visit the Gripit website here.

GripIt productsGripIt products

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Cotswold Life

Friday, December 7, 2018

Find a fabulous gift for everyone with Whatley Manor’s monetary vouchers.

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

One lucky reader could win a pair of tickets to see Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella, at Calcot Manor as well as two signed copies of ‘The Plant-Based Cookbook’

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

People travel from far and wide to visit the Cotswolds at Christmas. We’ve compiled 24 reasons why you should join them.

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Alleviate the stress of hectic Christmas preparation and endless shopping trips with a festive afternoon tea in one of these gorgeous Cotswold settings

Read more
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The weekend is fast approaching and for those still deciding how to spend their Friday through to Sunday, we pick 5 of the best ways to spend your weekend in the Cotswolds

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Crispy, frosty days and perhaps even a dusting of snow, winter is a magical time in the Cotswolds. If you’re thinking of tying the knot during this beautiful season in the region, here are six winter wedding ideas to help you start planning your special day

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The hotel in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire is offering free lunch or afternoon tea for the first ten that book for December 19

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

“We’re looking forward to lots of festive fun this Christmas festival and hope to welcome lots of people to our town.”

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

A perfect gift where rest and relaxation is required.

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

Applications are now open for a new competition that will give people from Gloucestershire the chance to see their food and drink products or ideas appear on supermarket shelves across the county

Read more

Do you remember that glorious childhood feeling of utterly, utterly losing yourself amongst the words of a story? Lucy Mangan certainly does. Katie Jarvis meets her over lunch at Calcot Manor to delve into the little-known stories behind some of our childhood literary favourites

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search