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TV Dragons’ fire boosts web hits

Ling Valentine, boss of, was put through the mill on BBC2’s Dragons’ Den last week. Its panel of investors accused the Gateshead businesswoman of failing to have a real grasp of the figures.

Valentine appealed for £50,000 to help her market her online car leasing and contract hire business in return for a 5% stake in the company. She claimed the investment would be worth £400,000 by 2010.

However the five Dragons questioned her claim of selling £1m of cars per month, when profits are only £8,000 to £10,000.

Valentine could not give exact figures when probed about her accounts.

Her pitch failed. However, two Dragons – Duncan Banantyne and Richard Farley – did offer her £50,000 in return for a 20% stake each. Valentine turned this down, at which the two offered the money for a stake of 15% each. Again, Valentine declined.

Publicity was her motivation for appearing on the show. LingsCars received 5,000 visits to its website in the evening after broadcast and now has more than 10,000 unique users.

Valentine is now gathering evidence against carmakers and finance houses, which she says have been putting pressure on dealers not to accept orders from her business. MEP Martin Callanan has offered to back a complaint to the European Commission once Valentine has sufficient proof.

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