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Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 14:06 UK
Dragons' Den man in the money
By Kev Geoghegan
Newsbeat reporter

Andrew Harsley
Andrew Harsley has spent 20 years working on his invention

It's one of the biggest post Dragons' Den deals ever done.

Inventor Andrew Harsley has just signed a deal to produce a billion of his Rapstraps for a major plastics company.

The Rapstrap is a greener alternative to the traditional nylon cable tie and the deal is said to be worth in the region of 36m.

Andrew Harsley told Newsbeat: "I haven't done the numbers myself but it's probably going in the right direction."

The product, which the entrepreneur has apparently spent 20 years working on, is a re-usable band that can be used to tie or secure anything from bin bags and cables to plants.

It is made from polyurethane and is, according to Lincolnshire-based Harsley, more effective than nylon ties in terms of coat and wastage.

Dragon U-turn

Harsley secured investment from two of the dragons, sports and fitness man Duncan Bannatyne and business equity expert James Caan.

A billion rapstraps will soon go into production in a 36m deal

They traded 75,000 each for a joint 50% share of the business.

During Harsley's demonstration, fellow dragon Theo Paphitis attempted to demonstrate the ease with which the Rapstrap could be pulled apart.

But Harsley said his tune changed after the cameras stopped rolling.

He said: "Theo did come over to me at the end and say that he would look at putting it in his stores.

"We're still a few months away from being able to supply but he did say that if it works we should give him a call.

"The BBC has to make them look a bit scary for the viewers but actually they're all decent folk who recognise a good business when they see one."

Business plan

The show's biggest success story, so far, is arguably Reggae Reggae sauce inventor Levi Roots.

His hot sauce was picked up by a major supermarket chain and recently a high street fast food chain.

But even his deals must surely pale in comparison.

Andrew Harsley said: "Certainly in terms of how many we're shifting, no-one is under any illusion that this is going to be head and shoulders above anything else.

"Things like Reggae Reggae Sauce and the Choc-box can sell millions but we're talking about something than can run into billions because it's a cheaper product."

Rather than splash out his new found wealth, Andrew Harsley said he'd be looking to expand his factory but was planning to take a holiday first.

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