Harrogate entrepreneur bags Dragon’s Den deal
Mar 19, 2024
Marina Prokoiosifi at her Dragon's Den pitch

A Harrogate woman has received an offer on Dragon’s Den for her hospitality platform, Dinerly.

Marina Prokoiosifi, 23, launched the platform, which allows restaurants to build their own website to use for orders and table bookings. They then pay a subscription fee, ranging from £25 to £65 a month.

She moved to Harrogate from Greece aged 16  and began working as a waitress to pay the bills and eventually dropped out of education at Harrogate College to focus on working in hospitality.

A few years later when the pandemic hit 20-year-old Ms Prokoiosifi was working as a manager at Taverna, a Greek restaurant on Cheltenham Crescent. She thought the restaurant’s website could be improved and the company was paying commission on its orders so she asked her boss if she could improve it and set about the task, launching Dinerly.

She said:

“I wasn’t thinking about starting a business I was just trying to help the restaurant out. I also knew if we didn’t make any money I wouldn’t have a job. It went from there really, the boss called his friend who called someone else and we soon got 30 restaurants.”

Ms Prokoiosifi met her business partner while working at The Whole Caboodle, a marketing company in Harrogate. As the brains behind the idea the business is split 60:40 to Ms Prokoiosifi, with her business partner designing the software for Dinerly.

Marina Prokoiosifi

She decided to take her idea to Dragon’s Den due to wanting a business mentor. She opted for the Greek version of the TV show to launch her business internationally.

Ms Prokoiosifi said:

“The English Dragon’s Den has such a long waiting list because it is so well established. I also think it would be a lot scarier.”

She entered the pitch asking for £30,000 for 4% of her business. Her offer was accepted within five minutes when ‘dragon’ Tassos Economou offered the asking price, making it she says the fastest deal ever in any Dragon’s Den series.

She said:

“At first I was really scared like a deer in the headlights, I was so stressed all day I couldn’t eat or do anything. Then I went in and it was over so quickly I was starstruck and completely taken aback, then I thought ‘what a waste of a day, I was stressed over nothing, just to walk out with the fastest ever deal’.”

She said Dinerly now has 40 restaurants signed up and more than 100 on the waiting list until the business expands. Restaurants in in the UK, Greece, Germany and the USA are currently signed up. Taverna in Harrogate still uses the site.

Ms Prokoiosifi added:

“It has been such a good experience. It has been really eye opening and Dinerly has already grown so much.”

See Marina’s pitch  below:

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