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Theo Paphitis

Series: 2-10

Notable investments:

  • Magic Whiteboard
  • WedgeWelly
  • BoginaBag

Theo Paphitis was born in Cyprus and moved to the UK when he was six years old. He left school at 16 with no qualifications due to his dyslexia but he was determined to succeed in business. After working for Watches of Switzerland and reviving several high street retailers such as Robert Dyas, Theo was ready for a new challenge.

He entered the Den in 2005 and stayed on for eight years, leaving to focus on lingerie brand, Boux Avenue.

The government Dragons’ Den blog states that Theo made 45 investments over his run on the show. He did make the biggest investment in the show’s history, backing Zapper with £250,000 in exchange for 30 per cent equity. However, the deal failed to go through after recording.

He continues to do TV appearances. One such appearance was in The Boss is Back in 2012. He returned to chair Millwall Football Club where he was chairman from 1997 to 2005. Meanwhile, Theo’s Adventure Capitalists involved Theo following the fortunes of British companies trying to expand into the emerging markets of India, Brazil and Vietnam in a four-part programme.

He has also featured in Celebrity Storage Hunters, BBC’s Famous, Rich and Hungry and Question Time.

Theo has been running Small Business Sunday in which he retweets six tweets of small businesses from his own account, raising their profile. In 2016, he created the SBS shop to support these small businesses.

He supports a number of charities:

  • Theo Paphitis Charitable Trust
  • Comic Relief (director 2012-2018)
  • HideOut Onside
  • Starlight Children’s Foundation
  • Shooting Star Hospice
  • Retail TRUST
  • Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

Theo temporarily replaced Touker Suleyman on Dragons’ Den in 2017 and stood in for a self-isolating Peter Jones in 2021.

At the time, Peter Jones tweeted:

‘When discussing with @BBCOne who could stand in for me I chose @TheoPaphitis as he is one of the great past Dragon [sic].’

In response, Theo said: ‘Thank you @dragonjones ! It was an absolute blast being back.’

See also: Theo Paphitis 6 micro business tips Q&A

Avatar photo

Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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