When mother-of-two Rachel Lowe ventured onto Dragon's Den two years ago, armed with the idea for a board game based on her experiences as a struggling cab driver, she was shot down in flames.
Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones, Doug Richards and Rachel Elnaugh ripped strips off her - her figures had holes in them, her PR was flimsy, and her idea not much more than a poor man's Monopoly.
Yesterday, with the launch of a special Birmingham version of the game, Ms Lowe was able to prove the Dragons wrong.
Her game, Destination London, sold out on its first run last Christmas, at Hamleys, London, and its success has seen the creation of a string of games based in cities across the UK and the US, where it is expected to net her more than #1million.
"My message to their other victims is that Dragon's Den doesn't always get it right, and actually if you believe in yourself and what you are doing you can do it without them,"
Ms Lowe, 29, came up with the idea for Destination when she spent three years driving a cab, having dropped out of college twice and juggling work with bringing up two daughters. In 2003, into her first year of a law and business studies degree in Portsmouth, she started to turn her idea into reality. She managed to secure sponsorship for its printing and launch, and sold 500 of them to Hamleys in London.
She appeared on Dragon's Den in the first series in 2004.
"I went on to the first series not knowing what to expect," she said. "I was completely shocked with what I was confronted with. It started badly when I went on set in a panic because they wouldn't let me read from my business plan.
"Then they grilled me for an hour-and-a-half. The questions fired at me were relentless and somehow contrived to make me look as if I didn't know the difference between gross and net profit.
"Duncan Bannatyne said he didn't think I had good enough PR, Doug Richards said he didn't rate my deal with Hamleys.
"Rachel Elnaugh asked snootily how on Earth did I think my game could compete with Monopoly?
"She was so patronising that I walked off halfway through in floods of tears."
Her confidence, she said, was "completely crushed".
"I cried all the way home. I had spent the entire summer promoting enterprise in schools. I knew that in the next five months this would go out on TV, and my name in business would be completely wrecked and no one would do business with me."
The next eight weeks until the launch of the game were critical, and Miss Lowe decided to throw herself into the challenge.
"I was always stubborn, even as a child. I had eight weeks to sort my head out and tell myself I could do it, and I worked all the hours I could.
In the event, it sold out in Hamleys, outselling even Monopoly.
Now she is on the verge of selling it as the spin-off to a screen production being announced in November, in a deal worth #5million.
"Their negativity did drive me on to make it more successful," said Ms Lowe.
Emma Pinch puts Destination Birmingham to the test
In Destination, players are taxi drivers whose aim is to get all of the well–known Brummie landmarks on the destination cards, while avoiding as much speeding, difficult fares and costly trips to the garage as possible.
You start with three destination cards and plan your route to get to all of them as quickly as you can so you can pick a new destination from the pile.
You are also equipped with three fuel vouchers – you have to relinquish one each time you reach a destination – and #300 in cash. When you're low on fuel you must motor on to a garage and fill up.
The major peril of the road is the traffic light. Landing on one means drawing a card which can be kind (eg, New Year's Eve, double your fare) or harsh (speeding – three points on your licence, with 12 points meaning a hefty #200 fine).
The first challenge comes from locating all of your destinations – which might be the Jewellery Quarter Metro on Pitsford Street, the Great Western Arcade on Bull Street or the BBC on Queensway. The street layout isn't strictly accurate, but finding your way adds to the fun.
There are a lot of cards in this game, but the rules are clearly written and easy to understand. And there are plentiful 'traffic light' cards to keep the potential upsets coming. We both quickly upgraded to turbo taxis to speed our way around the board in double quick time. I was disappointed when my fare to the Beeb didn't tip – it's all on expense accounts, innit?
But my competitor was relieved when his fare to UCE coughed up all of the frankly astronomical #40 from Bull Street.
When all the destination cards are spent the first player to reach his or her last one races back to the taxi rank – and counts up the day's takings.
This game was great fun, with shades of Monopoly and snakes and ladders, but with more of a chance and skill element, which keeps the momentum going.
I beat my compadre by scooping a hefty #405 for my shift, which just goes to prove one thing – I'm in the wrong game, mate.
* Destination Birmingham is available exclusively at Debenhams for #25.