Entrepreneurs get £50k investment in coffee company on Dragons' Den

Zain Peer and Shez Shaikh pitching their coffee

Zain Peer and Shez Shaikh pitching their coffee - Credit: BBC

A pair of entrepreneurs received a £50,000 investment in their coffee company on TV’s Dragons' Den. 

London Nootropics – run by Romford's Shez Shaikh and Zain Peer, from Tufnell Park – produce coffee products blended with natural products, such as Lion’s Mane mushroom and Rhodiola. 

Nootropics are a class of substances that advocates claim can enhance brain performance. 

The entrepreneurs pitched to the five dragons during the show, which aired last night (February 10).

Their branding was criticised as “forgettable” by Steven Bartlett but Sara Davies was impressed, referring to the pair as “cracking entrepreneurs”. 

“I’d be willing to take a punt on these two, but I don’t have any of the market knowledge and insight to be able to do it on my own,” she said, asking veteran dragon Deborah Meaden to join her. 

“If anyone can make this work, you guys can,” said Deborah. 

Zain told this newspaper that the experience had been “the most nerve-wracking thing of my life”. 

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“It felt like we were in there for about ten minutes but we were in there for an hour and a half – we don’t even remember bits of it,” he added. 

Co-founders Zain and Shez launched London Nootropics in March 2020.

They offer micro-ground instant coffee sachets for purchase or subscription.

As well as nootropics, they also use adaptogens, natural ingredients which are claimed to help the body adapt to stress. 

While the effectiveness of various nootropics and adaptogens is disputed, Zain said the effects of the ingredients “kind of blew our minds” when they first began using them. 

“It quickly became not just something for pre-workout but something that we would add to our coffee depending on what we needed that day,” he said. 

Zain and Shez have developed three blends: Mojo, for a pre-workout boost, Grind, for “mental clarity and focus”, and Zen, to help with stress and anxiety. 

As well as Lion’s Mane and Rhodiola, their coffee grinds include mixtures of CBD extract, Ashwagandha, Cordyceps and Siberian Ginseng. 

Addressing the sceptics, Zain said that everyone responded to the substances differently and recommended that people “try different adaptogens and find what works for you”. 

Dragons' Den is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.