Dragons' Den has revealed its new Dragon, the youngest in the show's history.
28-year-old entrepreneur and Sunday Times best-selling author Steven Bartlett is set to join the BBC One show from its next series.
He will sit alongside Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman and Sara Davies for the 19th series of Dragons’ Den.
Bartlett is founder and former CEO of social media marketing agency The Social Chain which he set up from a bedroom in Manchester. He dropped out of university and built the group’s two flagship companies, Social Chain and Media Chain, when he was just 22 years old before taking his company public at 27, with a current market valuation of over £300m.
He begins filming in the Den this summer for the 19th series of the entrepreneurial TV hit, which is currently airing its 18th series on BBC One after moving from BBC Two.
Steven Bartlett said: “I’ve been watching Dragons’ Den since I was 12 years old - it was my first window into the real world of business and investing. It’s a tremendous honour to join the Den, hopefully representing a new generation of entrepreneurs, inspiring young and specifically under-represented entrepreneurs to follow in my footsteps.”
Chi Ukairo, Dragons’ Den Executive Producer, BBC Studios added: “Steven is a great addition to the Den and we are all looking forward to seeing him in action when we start filming this summer.”
Sarah Clay, the BBC’s Commissioning Editor of Entertainment commented: “As well as being our youngest ever Dragon, Steven’s unique approach to business will bring a whole new dynamic to the Den. He brings a wealth of experience from the social media, technological and brand building worlds. I’m so excited to see him in the next series.”
Steven replaces Tej Lalvani on the show after Tej announced his exit prior to the new series starting.
Tej Lalvani said: “I’m truly excited for the upcoming series of Dragons’ Den, which looks set to be one of the best. However after an incredibly enjoyable four years as a Dragon I have decided that this next series will be my last.
"My commitment to the international growth and expansion of my core business and the numerous investments over the years sadly means I will be unable to dedicate the necessary time moving forward.
"I would like to thank the BBC for the great opportunity along with their support and understanding. I wish everyone on the team the very best as it’s been a true pleasure working together.”
Applications are open for the next series of Dragons’ Den online here.
For now, the current series of Dragons’ Den w airs on Thursdays at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.