Innovation & Enterprise


UCL startup and Dragons’ Den finalists Playbrush find happiness with European investors

28 February 2018

UCL startup Playbrush, the smart gaming toothbrush that makes brushing fun for kids, has received more than a £1 million investment from European investors.

Matthäus Ittner, Paul Varga and Tolulope Ogunsina

Walking away from dragons

Co-founders, UCL alumni and residents of UCL Innovation & Enterprise’s entrepreneurial hub BaseKX, Paul Varga, Tolulope Ogunsina, and Matthäus Ittner appeared on a recent episode of BBC Two show Dragons’ Den. 

The dragons loved the Playbrush and four offered the full £100,000 proposed. However, the founders decided they couldn't part with more than one per cent equity, and walked away. This reflected their confidence in a product that has already achieved 150,000 sales and transformed the tooth brushing habits of children worldwide.

Continuing their success

Since filming the show, Playbrush have received funding from Austrian financiers Speedinvest, Hansi Hansmann and former racing-car driver Harold Primat. Playbrush products are now available online at Tesco Direct as well as stores across Europe. 

Paul Varga, co-founder of Playbrush, said: “Although inside the Den it may have been ambitious, outside of the Den our valuation has now led to successful seven-digit funding rounds from European investors and our smart toothbrush continues to go from strength to strength - allowing us to expand into new markets and make brushing fun for more kids.”

Jerry Allen, Director for Entrepreneurship, UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “I'm delighted Playbrush is going from strength to strength. It's a great example of how UCL’s Innovation & Enterprise department can help transform an idea into something bigger and real.”

To find out more about our entrepreneurial hub BaseKX and the support on offer from the team, come along to one of our BaseLates events. Our next event, on 22 March, will look at innovation and entrepreneurship in health, and on 17 April we'll be celebrating social innovators and entrepreneurs.


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