Every single big brand name that you can think of came from a single spark, a bright idea of imagination that a person had to put together and bring into fruition. There are some great examples of people who turned down the chance to invest in a brand name or product because they didn’t see a future for it, only to have it blow up in their face as that company or product went on to break records and become the biggest in the business. Below, you’ll see some examples of this, from the Brew Dog Dragons’ Den rejection to Amazon and even the greatest band of all time, The Beatles.

BrewDog and Dragons’ Den

We’ve all seen the TV show Dragons’ Den, where entrepreneurs take their new, brave (and sometimes wacky) ideas into the den where they ask for investment into an idea or company in return for a percentage of the ownership. Sometimes, the ideas are great, and it works (such as Levi Roots and the Reggae Reggae Sauce) and sometimes it fails miserably. The co-owners of BrewDog, James Watt and Martin Dickie, went on Dragons’ Den back in 2009, asking for a £100,000 investment for a 20 per cent stake in the business. They didn’t even get past the screen test for the show, with producers not deeming it worthy of an appearance. BrewDog has since gone on to be a massive success in the brewing world and that £100,000 would be worth around £360 million now! A missed opportunity indeed!


The largest rideshare company in the world, Uber was started in 2009 by friends Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp. There have been some trials and tribulations over recent years, including claims of a hostile working environment and legal battles in certain cities across the world from local taxi companies, but it was also a missed opportunity for one friend of Camp and Kalanick who had the chance to invest in the company in the very early days, but twice said no. Gary Vaynerchuk is founder and CEO of VaynerX and a New York Times bestselling author, but back then he thought that the company wasn’t going to make it, as his friends set it up as a side hustle and hired someone else to run it. The $25,000 investment would have reached a value of around $300 million, but he does look at it as a motivator and a factor behind his drive and subsequent success.

The Beatles

The biggest band there has ever been, the Fab Four, the scouse phenomenon’s; every single one of us has a favourite Beatles song because they literally shaped the entire music world for the last 50 years. Back in January 1962 they were still aspiring musicians learning the ropes in Liverpool’s now-famous Cavern Club and over in Hamburg, and it was around this time that they auditioned for Decca records to try and get a record deal. Decca were not impressed though, thinking that guitar bands were finished. Instead, The Beatles signed for EMI and soon would be the biggest band to ever exist. All you need is love, and a good ear for music.

Kodak and the digital camera

Kodak was the long-serving king of camera film, but when digital arrived it changed the game and Kodak was left behind. It could have all been so different though, as the digital camera was actually an invention of Kodak. Steven Sasson was an engineer for Kodak and developed an early concept of a digital camera way back in 1975. The big wigs deemed it a threat to their main line of business though, so hid the technology and hoped it would never come out. Eventually though, it did appear, and Kodak’s rivals left them in the dust. The patent for Kodak digital expired in 2007 and Kodak went bust in 2012.


There are two examples of people who missed out on the behemoth that is Apple. Back in the 1970s, Steve Jobs offered his then boss at Atari, Nolan Bushnell, the chance to invest $50,000 into his new Apple Computers business in exchange for a third of the company. Bushnell turned him down, missing the chance to become one of the richest men in the world. One of the three co-founders of Apple, Ronald Wayne, also missed the boat. He drew up the agreements that allocated roles for himself, Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976, and he created the first ever Apple logo. He was concerned though that any business debts would fall on him, as he was the eldest and most financially sound at this point. Just 12 days into the role he sold his 10% stake for $800, which would have been worth around $201 billion today.


Jeff Bezos is super rich, having made eye-watering sums of money from his company Amazon. He’s so rich he recently got into space on a phallic rocket. Over the years, investors into Amazon have also made plenty of money, as we see today it is everywhere we look, delivering us clothes, books, music, gifts, groceries, movie streaming services, drones delivering little packages to our doorstep within 30 seconds of us ordering something. Amazon is the future, right now. Back in the early days, Bezos tells tales of the first 20 investors, putting in around $50,000 each for a stake of less than 1% of the company. These investors would today have shares worth $3.5 billion if they held on to their shares. Another potential investor in the early years of Amazon, SoftBank Group Corp. founder, Masoyoshi Son, offered to buy a 30% stake in Amazon for $100 million but Bezos insisted on $130 million. Son thought the deal was a good one but didn’t have the additional $30 million so missed out. It would now be worth around $260 billion.

Making the right investment in your future with digital marketing services in Manchester

The Candy team puts its heart and soul into everything that we do for our clients. You’ve seen how these missed investment opportunities have caused heartache for decades in some cases, but you should never feel that way about your own company. With our help you can put the right level of investment into digital marketing, pushing your brand forward and making real connections with your customers. If you would like to speak to our team about putting together a plan of action to boost your brand online, contact us today on 0161 826 0123 or hello@candymarketing.co.uk.