Friends’ stock rises with £50k Dragons Den investment


TWO childhood friends from Tunbridge Wells, Charlie Gilpin and Sam Moss, appeared on the latest series of BBC One’s Dragons’ Den on February 8 in a bid to gain a £50,000 investment for their frozen food innovation business, STOCKED.

The business, based in East London and run by the two entrepreneurs produces a range of nutritious meals which are frozen into space-saving, personally portioned blocks. The pair often describe STOCKED as ‘batch cooking done for you’ as every meal and block is cooked exactly like people would at home – just in slightly bigger pans.

STOCKED founders Charlie and Sam have known each other since 1999 and became childhood friends after going to Holmewood House in Langton Green together.

Fast forward quite a few years to when Sam Moss was working as a consultant in the city and batch-cooking and freezing his food on Sunday evenings. After ruining countless Ziploc bags and Tupperware, he started to wonder if there was a better way to freeze his food.

Talking to his mum one day, he found that she used to freeze his baby food into ice cube trays and thought why isn’t this available for adults. But he knew if he was going to make it into a business, he would need the best chef he knew, Charlie Gilpin.

After leaving school at 16, Charlie went straight into the food industry, setting up a cake shop and café with his mum on The Pantiles in 2012, known as The CakeShed, before selling the company seven years later.

He then moved up to London and soon set up a successful street food company.

In between running his award-winning street food company and working in various restaurants, Charlie had been honing his skills cooking for the likes of Katy Perry and The Spice Girls. It was then on his return from touring in July 2019 that Sam told him his ‘crazy idea for blocks of food.’

Ever since the company has continued to grow and even recently introduced kid-friendly food blocks so that their meals can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Charlie added; “We’ve created an even higher standard of meal that you can happily feed your kids rather than reaching into the freezer for some pizza, nuggets, or other beige food type that you know isn’t healthy but is super convenient.”

Charlie and Sam explained that their Dragons’ Den journey started when they were contacted by a researcher from the BBC asking them to apply for the show. At first, they were hesitant over whether the email was genuine, but soon confirmed that it was. Following a successful application process they were booked onto the show.

Sam described the experience of going on the show as ‘super surreal’. He added “We’re massive fans of the show and have been ever since we were kids, so it was such a cool experience. But of course it was super daunting. It’s the biggest pitch of our lives as you’re not only pitching to some of the biggest names in British business, but also that conversation is being broadcast on TV in front of millions of people.”

The pair asked for a £50,000 investment for a two per cent share of the business to help expand their growing website channel and to create a retail-specific product. Initially the pitch was going well with the Dragon’s enjoying the food provided to them, although the mood soon shifted when they began dissecting the figures and profit margins of the company.

However, Dragon Steven Bartlett, known for his expertise in disruptive, digital-first brands, was not deterred and offered Sam and Charlie all of the money in exchange for six per cent of STOCKED, which the pair eventually accepted.

Commenting on Steven Bartlett’s investment, Charlie said he was ‘happy’ it was now common knowledge as it means that they can ‘really start to get to work’.

Sam added, “We couldn’t have picked a better Dragon to work with, Steven has an incredible, strong background in nutrition and marketing so we can’t wait to start working together, the partnership will allow us to develop a retail product to bring our mission to a whole new audience.”

Since appearing on the show, the company has already expanded their production facility, something they will likely need to do again later in the year, and now plan to raise further capital from investors and ‘bring down the margins that the Dragons picked up on’ during their pitch.

You can find out more about their company at

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