Dragons' Den star James Caan has helped to fund a new headhunting agency that specialises in the retail and fast-moving consumer goods industries.

Caan's private equity business Hamilton Bradshaw has put in an undisclosed amount of money to help start up Mayfair-based Exsurgo. Caan, who made his money by creating and eventually selling recruitment company Alexander Mann, will also offer his expertise.

"James was interested in the business as a start-up and we felt it would be good to have his backing and knowledge," said Exsurgo's managing director David Jenkins.

Jenkins was previously a director of commercial operations at Quest Search and Selection and six of his eight members of staff were also directors at the company. "We are looking to operate at the middle to senior end of the marketplace. There are a lot of niche businesses working in pockets of it, but there's nobody providing a strong holistic service. We will work across the consumer sector and a big part will be in the grocery sector."

Other headhunters have been laying off staff since the recession began, but Jenkins claimed now was a good time to start a new business. "There are definitely opportunities out there across the board and we're already busy."

He planned to double employees in each of the next two years and broaden into other sectors, he said.