Dragons back Ipswich inventor

AN Ipswich inventor is today looking forward to seeing his product launch around the world following his success on BBC's Dragons' Den.Michael Pritchard presented his invention of a multi-directional 'ANYWAY' spray on the programme and although he had to compromise on what share of his company he gave away, he got the backing of two dragons.

AN Ipswich inventor is today looking forward to seeing his product launch around the world following his success on BBC's Dragons' Den.

Michael Pritchard presented his invention of a multi-directional 'ANYWAY' spray on the programme and although he had to compromise on what share of his company he gave away, he got the backing of two dragons.

Originally Mr Pritchard wanted �125,000 for a five per cent share in his company. Despite negative reactions from three of the dragons, Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis saw its potential and agreed to part with �62,500 each for a total of 20 per cent of the business.

He first thought of the idea for the product in his kitchen after becoming frustrated with aerosols, which would not work unless they were held in an upright position. His invention means the inner tube of the spray or can is replaced with his specially designed product that enables the spray to still function at any angle.

The idea is that major manufacturers of sprays will use the ANYWAY tube in their products.

Mr Pritchard, who has also invented a filtration water bottle called the LIFESAVER which is now in widespread use, said: “I am very pleased those dragons are on board. They are quite fun dragons but smart people too. They are going to make a great deal of difference to my business. I knew Peter had technology experience and understands how things work, and Theo has great retail experience.

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“I was a bit nervous but I had done a lot of preparation and they asked genuine questions. You have to understand that your position is different from a normal negotiation and you have to give them a lot of respect.”

Since the show was filmed in June, a major company has already expressed interest after the first set of tests were completed.

Mr Pritchard, 42, whose business is based in Tuddenham Avenue, said: “I anticipate we will have a deal with one or several of the major players over the next few months. Then I would hope it could be in packaging by 2010/2011. These things take time. We will not be doing the manufacturing ourselves, we will be licensing the right for companies to use the product.”

Have you come up with an exciting invention? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.