Sarah Willingham

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By Anna Jordan on Small Business UK – Advice and Ideas for UK Small Businesses and SMEs

Series: 13-14

Notable investments:

Grounded Body ScrubVitiglow Sublime Science

Sarah Willingham’s background is very much in the hospitality industry. When she was in her twenties, Sarah led the international expansion of Pizza Express and Planet Hollywood before buying the Bombay Bicycle Club and turning it into the biggest chain of Indian restaurants in the UK.

She entered the Den in 2015 and stayed for two series. Over her time, Sarah invested in Grounded Body Scrub, Vitiglow and Sublime Science. All of her investments were made in 2013, totalling £252,500. The sale of Sublime Science in September 2018 was said to be one of the most successful exits in Dragons’ Den history at a five-times return on the initial equity investment.

Hello! Magazine reported that she left the series in 2017 because her husband had a cancer scare while they were on holiday.  

In 2021, Sarah launched and listed Nightcap PLC alongside her entrepreneur husband Michael Toxvaerd. Nightcap was launched to take advantage of the unique opportunity present in the market to acquire and grow drinks led businesses that can thrive in the post-Covid 2020s. London Cocktail Club was their first acquisition.

As well as running Nightcap, Sarah and Michael jointly invest in and support a number of established businesses with a focus on growing brands in the food and drink, consumer finance, banking, technology, lead generation and entertainment sectors, most of which are located across the UK, Middle East and North America.

She founded the website Letssavemoney.com, a free to use money advice site, which helped hundreds of thousands of people manage their home finances. With growing children and lack of editorial resource Sarah Willingham closed down Letssavemoney.com in 2018.

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