Cash boost for Sheffield grocer after pitch to Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson

Dan Cluderay, founder of Approved Food, with Sir Richard Branson.
Dan Cluderay, founder of Approved Food, with Sir Richard Branson.

A Sheffield-based grocer has received a £100, 000 cash windfall after keeping his nerve while delivering a pitch to Sir Richard Branson.

Dan Cluderay came face-to-face with the entrepreneur as part of the Virgin Media-backed Pitch to Rich competition.

He reached the final after securing online votes from members of the public who praised his business Approved Food, which sells groceries online. He was given two minutes to pitch to Sir Richard and his judging team of business leaders Peter Kelly, Jon Oringer, Jo Malone MBE and Justine Roberts, alongside model and serial investor David Gandy.

Dan was pipped at the post for the first prize of a £250, 000 Virgin Media-backed marketing campaign by JustPark, an on-line Parking App. But he told how he was “thrilled” to take home the second prize of a £100, 000 marketing campaign with support from Virgin Media.

He said: “The whole experience has been a whirlwind of emotions up to the final. The support we received in the voting rounds was overwhelming and to be actually there in front of the panel was a bit terrifying to be fair.

“We are really looking forward to meeting up soon with the Virgin team and getting the marketing campaign started. We have already told them we will not be putting up with any fancy London pricing, we will be insisting on proper northern value for money, on every pound spent.”

This was not the first time Dan and business partner Andy Needham have faced business leaders in a nerve-wracking pitch as they appeared on the last series of BBC2 show Dragons’ Den but failed to secure an investment.