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YHANGRY founders on Dragons’ Den appearance: ‘The first 30 minutes were the toughest’

·3-min read
<p>Former Barclays bankers Heinin Zhang and Siddhi Mittal launched YHANGRY in late 2019 </p> (YHANGRY)

Former Barclays bankers Heinin Zhang and Siddhi Mittal launched YHANGRY in late 2019

(YHANGRY)

A pair of ex-traders managed to secured £100,000 in funding from Dragons' Den judges for their startup that delivers affordable private chefs to your door - and today they talked about what it felt like to appear on the show, and how they plan to spend the newfound cash.

Former Barclays bankers Heinin Zhang and Siddhi Mittal launched YHANGRY in late 2019, aiming to allow Londoners to book a previously elite-only experience for special occasions at home.

The duo, who met at work, had found that their extremely busy careers meant they missed home-cooked meals. They wanted to renew dinner parties for the time-poor millennial generation by offering a Deliveroo-era private chef option.

Customers can choose a date and bespoke menu in minutes, and book in a vetted chef for a minimum of £17 per person.

The duo in Manchester for their appearance on Dragons’ DenYHANGRY
The duo in Manchester for their appearance on Dragons’ DenYHANGRY

The duo appeared on the latest episode of Dragons' Den just a month after netting $1.5 million (£1.09 million) in seed funding from a flurry of big-name serial investors, including former Tech Nation chair Eileen Burbidge’s Passion Capital and Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke.

On the long-running BBC show, entrepreneurs are given just three minutes to pitch their business ideas to five multimillionaires who are willing to invest their own cash.

Zhang and Mittal walked away from their appearance with £100,000 in investment from Peter Jones and fellow Dragon Tej Lalvani - after having been dubbed "the most excited" team to have ever appeared in the den.

They may have been excited, but the pair told the Standard things came down to the wire ahead of their appearance on set in Salford.

"We arrived in Manchester the day before, planning to set up our props (the dinner table set up) in the afternoon," Zhang said. "They had not arrived due to Covid delays and we were left scrambling for substitute whilst practising our pitch and also preparing a bit more for questions the next day. The props ended up arriving on the day, just an hour before the start of our pitch."

Was the actual pitching experience as stressful as it looks? "Being bombarded with tough questions for more than two hours was stressful, but the first 30 minutes were really the toughest. After that, it was almost like we warmed up and found a 'rhythm' and time really just flew by," Zhang said.

The pair said they celebrated their success not in a high-end restaurant, but on the train back to London "with a feast from LEON and a bottle of champagne that we picked up at the station".

YHANGRY currently has around 130 freelance qualified chefs on its books. The entrepreneurs now plan to combine the Dragons' cash with the recent VC injection to double the size of their team by the end of the year, and further develop the app's technology and services across the UK. Eventually they are targeting an international rollout.

Current menus range across cuisines, can be personalised, and can even have a pop culture theme. Past menus based on Netflix hit The Queen’s Gambit.

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