9 Mar 2023, 19:02
8 Mar 2023, 15:23
A woman who failed to get investment on Dragons’ Den has found fame in Hollywood – proving Peter Jones and his co-stars wrong about Neo Walk.
Last year, Lyndsay Watterson appeared on the mildly terrifying BBC One show.
She hoped to get investment for her business Neo Walk – a range of beautiful acrylic walking sticks.
But why did the Dragons refuse to invest in her business? And how has she since found success in the States?
Yorkshire-based Lyndsay appeared on Dragons’ Den in 2022 (Credit: BBC One)
When did Lyndsay Watterson pitch Neo Walk on Dragons’ Den?
Yorkshire-based Lyndsay Watterson appeared on Dragons’ Den in March 2022.
She believed Neo Walk, her range of bright and beautiful walking sticks, “changes the way believe think of their disability”.
Lyndsay told the Dragons her sticks aim to encourage people to look beyond the disability and focus on the stylish accessory instead.
Wheelchair-user Lyndsay wanted to make a difference with her customisable acrylic walking stick business.
The sticks come in beautiful acrylic colours – some even light up! – and they average at £75.
Why did the Dragons refuse to invest in Neo Walk?
Touker Suleyman questioned Lyndsay’s costs.
At the time, she was having the walking sticks made in China for around £12 a stick.
He thought she “needed to go back to China and tell them your target price is five dollars”.
Meanwhile, Peter Jones realised Lyndsay was unable to stop others from copying her brand.
She told him: “I didn’t invent the walking stick, so I can’t patent it.”
Steven Bartlett told Lyndsay he didn’t think he’d get his capital back within the next five years, while Sara said she didn’t want to invest in the brand.
Although Deborah said she “would almost certainly buy one for my sister or possibly two” she did not think Lyndsay was the solution for the NHS.
Despite not getting the investment she hoped for, Lyndsay said she enjoyed telling the potential investors about her product.
She recently said: “At the end of the day, I didn’t need them.
“We’ve actually smashed the predictions I gave the Dragons which we would reach without them. I’m just so thrilled.”
Christina Applegate relies on a Neo Walk walking stick at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in February 2023 (Credit: BauerGriffin/INSTARimages)
Why is Neo Walk founder Lyndsay Watterson in a wheelchair?
During her appearance on Dragons’ Den, Lyndsay explained: “Disability came knocking on my door when I was Sara’s [Davies] age.
“I was only 43 when I lost my leg because of a MRSA infection.”
Lyndsay, a former trapeze artist who appeared on the same stage as Coldplay, started the business in 2013 after having her leg amputated when she contracted MRSA during an operation.
The first prototype stick was created in Ms Watterson’s kitchen, using an oven-heated piece of acrylic moulded around a wine bottle.
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How has Neo Walk become famous?
This year, actress Christina Applegate used a Neo Walk walking stick on the red carpet.
The 51-year-old Anchorman star, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, attended the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in February 2023.
She was also seen using a Neo Walk stick on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Meanwhile, fellow MS sufferer Selma Blair also uses Neo Walk products.
Lyndsay recently told the BBC: “I feel hugely privileged to have these two very famous ladies walking around with our walking sticks.”
Dragons’ Den continues on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One.
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