COUNTLESS entrepreneurs have gone on Dragons' Den hoping to make their first million.
But even the most successful hopefuls backed on the show don't come close to making what the dragons themselves are worth – with some personal fortunes running to NINE figures.
Dragons turn down some pitches simply because they don't think they'll make money.
Although many rejects have actually gone on to make millions anyway.
Still, the show's well-heeled investors didn't get to where they are today without knowing a thing or two about business.
Here's a rundown of some of the richest dragons – and how they like to spend theirhoards of gold.
New kid on the block
Most people in the den who are Steven Bartlett's age are looking for their first big break in business.
But despite being just 28, Bartlett has already conquered the corporate world and is going to be the show's newest dragon next series – bringing his reported £50million fortune with him.
After dropping out of university, at the age of 22 Bartlett set up a social media marketing agency called Social Chain from his bedroom in Manchester.
The firm is now valued at over £300million and he's found time for other ventures – including publishing his book, Happy Sexy Millionaire, earlier this year.
Like other dragons, Steven has shared snaps of his luxurious lifestyle on Instagram, travelling the world and driving a Range Rover.
Unlike other dragons, he has 1.2million followers.
He's the only dragon to have been in the den every series since the programme was first broadcast back in 2005.
Now Peter Jones, 55, is worth a whopping £450million according to the 2020 Sunday Times Rich List.
His eye-watering wealth is thanks to a business portfolio spanning telecoms, media and property.
Jones' first venture was a computer company he founded when he was just 16, and he now heads up photographic retailing firm Jessops.
He's also invested in an array of pitches in the den from Reggae Reggae Sauce to the iTeddy.
In one interview, the tycoon boasted of owning nine separate houses, including four in a trust for his kids.
"My largest property is the Portuguese villa," Jones told The Times in 2007.
"I bought it from Chris Evans two years ago for about £4million. It has about two acres of land and has views to the sea. It has seven bedrooms and separate guest quarters.
"It's an old building but Chris and Billie Piper had completely redone it – so well in fact that I haven't really changed a thing.
"My other main property is a six-bedroom place in Buckinghamshire. I'm not saying where because we've been victims of a balaclava burglary."
From McDonalds to 'Prince of Vitamins'
Tej Lalvani made a name for himself in the health sector – and a healthy bank balance for himself along the way.
The 47-year-old mogul joined Dragons' Den in 2017, but he's now left the show for good to focus on expanding his business.
Not that he's short of cash – he was estimated to have a £390million net worth in 2019.
Lalvani is the CEO of Vitabiotics, a company which was founded by his father and is now the UK's largest vitamin business.
Reflecting on his lofty achievements in May, Lalvani revealed his first experience in the working world was in a Maccies.
"I learned the value of hard work in my first job at McDonald’s, before working my way through every department at Vitabiotics to where I am now," he wrote on Instagram.
"A long and arduous process with many challenges, but one which has taught me so much."
Motivational posts aside, Lalvani gives glimpses of his glamorous life to his 46,000 followers.
Recent posts have included him in a flash car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and dining with fellow dragons in a swanky restaurant.
Flying first class Scotsman
Duncan Bannatyne is probably best known for the string of health clubs that carry his name – which has helped propel him to a £300million fortune.
The Scottish entrepreneur, 72, didn't even enter the business world until he was 30, at which point he bought an ice cream van for £450 in Stockton-on-Tees.
He was soon able to buy more vans and eventually sold the business for £28,000, allowing him to buy a care home company which ultimately sold for £26million in 1996.
Now his empire includes 70 gyms, nearly 50 spas, and four hotels.
Bannatyne now owns a £6million property in Monaco and homes in Miami and Portugal worth £3.8million and £4.5million respectively, according to The Times.
Despite his current £300million valuation, Bannatyne was once worth much more – until his 2012 divorce cost him £345million.
"Not only did it crush me financially — the Sunday Times Rich List showed my wealth falling from £430million to £85million in two years — but the psychological damage was far worse," Bannatyne wrote in his book, Riding the Storm.
He's now married to Nigora Whitehorn after proposing in 2016 with a £40,000 ring in Monte Carlo.
Fashioning a fortune
Touker Suleyman started his professional life as an accountant.
Now the 67-year-old probably needs several accountants of his own to keep track of his staggering wealth, which is estimated to be north of £200million.
Suleyman made his millions running fashion companies like Ghost and Hawes & Curtis, the latter of which he bought for just £1.
Along with snaps of his cavapoo Lucy, Suleyman has shared snaps of him with a Bentley with his 28,000 Instagram followers.
And he's used his considerable wealth to build what's been described as a "James Bond-style" house in south London.
It's said to be so impressive that it's regularly rented by A-list celebrities – including the Beckhams.
Deborah Meaden has been in the den since its third series and, since then, her wealth has exploded.
The 62-year-old is now believed to be worth £40million, with her early ventures including a ceramics importing company and even a prize bingo concession at Butlin's.
During her time in the den, Meaden has made 63 investments worth a collective £6million, according to her website.
"Oddly, I get criticised for never investing," the page reads, "But factually only Peter has agreed more offers than me."
Animal-lover Meaden and husband Paul share a ten-bedroom listed property in Somerset with dogs, cats, horses, geese, ducks and chickens.
Meaden previously revealed she'd spent £30,000 on bronze sculptures of her two Hungarian Vizslas and her cat.
And she's admitted to spending £50 on a weekly massage – but she doesn't just treat herself to a rub-down.
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"I will also treat my six horses to £60 McTimoney massages every two months to make sure they are in shape," Meaden told This Is Money.
"Most of my horses are rescued – they have come out of racing or have had something wrong with them.
"It is really embarrassing how much I spend on them each year: many thousands of pounds."
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