Bannatyne’s investment has secured him a majority stake of 79 percent of the company, which was established by 18-year-old entrepreneurs Ryan Ashmore and Liam Webb in 2010.
The deal was struck on the episode of Dragons’ Den broadcast tonight (19th September 2011). While the other Dragons gave frank comments about the tough challenge facing the young entrepreneurs and declared themselves ‘out’, Duncan was impressed with their raw enthusiasm and passion for the music business.
RKA Records Ltd was founded by Ryan in his bedroom and, with the support of his life-long friend Liam, the business has already made its first steps into the industry.
Ryan, who ran a successful mobile disco from the age of 12, was keen to start his own label and brought Liam on board who studied business at college.
Since its inception, the label has signed two artists, MarQ Figuli and Chris Parham with agreements to market their music worldwide.
Within the last year the label has also created a strong network of music industry contacts in the UK, Europe and the United States who have expressed interest the working with the label and its artists.
Duncan Bannatyne said: “I saw something in Ryan and Liam that caught my imagination, which encouraged me to make them the offer in the Den. For the past year they have been serving an entrepreneurs’ apprenticeship learning about how to run a business and break into a tough industry. Now, with my investment and hands-on involvement, we can really take the business forward and achieve Ryan and Liam’s ambitions.”
Ryan Ashmore said: “Securing an investment from Duncan is everything we hoped for going into Dragons’ Den. While the other Dragons were supportive of our drive and desire, they couldn’t see the potential return on investment RKA Records can produce. Duncan is a very shrewd character and exactly the right investor for our business.”
Liam Webb said: “We are determined to make a success of this business and with Duncan’s support and investment we can are in an excellent position for the future. Despite the threat of illegal downloads and file sharing, the industry still has a very faithful audience who purchase the music they listen to and we are dedicated to securing a percentage of that market.”