Here is my full review of Dragons’ Den second episode (s01-e02). By the way, you can also read my reviews of the first episode (s01-e01) and third episode (s01-e03), fourth episode (s01-e04), and fifth episode (s01-e05).
Note: This is a very long and detailed posting. If you wish to jump to any of my other postings, please use the links on the right side of the screen to get there.
Well, I couldn’t say much in my s01-e02 preview but now I am free to give my full review. First of all, I love Dragons’ Den which is also why I see it as almost my duty to tell someone what were bad about the show. And here they are. (Note: I have a lot of good comments about the entrepreneurs’ pitches and what happened on the show. So if you don’t care about the technical stuff about Dragons’ Den, you can scroll directly to the entrepreneurs’ comments sections which are clearly marked.)
- The background repeating music loop (the durm, etc.) was very bad. These repeating drum loop was totally unnecessary at many places (e.g. when the entrepreneurs were talking to the dragons.)
- Now, the worst offending music loop happened during Robert’s chat with Maya! Oh, that really kills me. I love that segment so much and think that shows Robert (and other Draongs) really care about Maya and want to help. BUT, that darn music loop was so in-your-face (and inappropriate) that it made me ill. At that moment, the emotion should be allowed to carry through with no music. And definitely not that kind of repeating drum music! (I recently asked the composer John Abram (he has worked with Gary Burns (Radiant City (2006), Waydowntown (2000) ) for some music advice. He suggested sometimes no music is the best because it makes the use of music so much more powerful when you do have it.) Anyway, I have no interest to hear that darn repeating music loop. Not at that tender moment. I think I had enough of that music loop for this year, I’ve used up my quota in listening to bad drum music loop.
- The ratings for the s01-e1 was not too good — only 219,000. Thanks to John Doyle at The Globe and Mail (Oct 11th article) for this data point. (Of course, I hope that John’s spell checker will auto-delete his paragraph every time he uses the word “disaster” in describing Dragons’ Den. [Quoting John (bold are mine), “By the way — in the cruel, viewing-numbers-for-new shows department, CBC had one disaster last week. The heavily promoted debut of the business-reality series Dragons’ Den drew only 219,000 viewers. To put this in context, last week’s return of The Rick Mercer Report drew a very healthy 715,000 viewers and was followed by the return of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, with 727,000 viewers. The person who pushed for CBC’s version of Dragons’ Den (a hit show in Britain) really should be squirming.”] Note to self and CBC executives: Lets hope we are doing something about it and lets hope the rating gets better. I will be so interested in knowing what exactly the CBC executives are doing to try to bring the audience numbers up for the remaining four episodes?? I hope we are not just sitting around and waiting?? I personally suck at sitting and doing nothing. If I were in the CBC executive team, I will have the following people on speed dail and talking to them to learn, a) The execs at the UK Dragons’ Den team, b) the execs at the Australia team, c) I will even try to speak some Japanese to the Sony team if this can help CBC’s Dragons’ Den ratings. (Note: I don’t speak Japanese. The team at Sony probably speaks better English than me. (smile)] This is no time to be reflective nor just sit and think. I love Dragons’ Den enough. And I don’t want to see it just die after season one. (Note: I am fully aware that in s01-e01 we fought against the season opener NHL hockey game (Leafs vs Senators). And last night, for Calgary, we fought against “Hockey: A People’s History”. And I am sure, if we want to find excuses, there will be four more set of excuses for the next four episodes. But lets not go there. And lets not go down without a really really good fight.)
Again, even with the above first two serious weakness (which are both music and both fixable), I still love the show.
Now, the following is my blow-by-blow account and comment of the show (with all the typos and errors) as I watched the show during preview and then typed the comments (I really paused a lot). This process was so time consuming and I don’t know if I will do it agian or if it worths it. Please let me know by leaving your comment. But it does give you some idea of my immediate feedback and what I was thinking as I watch the show. Be warned, it my sample view of one.
Oct 12th, 8:12MST update: I have finally kinda finished adding some brief analysis and please feel free to leave me comments in order to share your view with me and other readers. Thanks in advance.
Jason Carruthers – Face Form (eye-glass store for women only)
– quoting him, Face Form is “a store that make women look good in eye-glasses”
so he wants to focus on women only.
– he is an optician with 12 years experience
– but the part about “glasses can make you look better or worst” is kinda obvious, isn’t it?
– he is excited.
– started with only feminine frame, shape, colours
– retail unit just for women
– don’t let the customers just randomly pick frames on their own (hmm, strange)
– Group frames into types and ask customers questions like, “Do you want to look like an executive? Do you want a look that is artistic, casual, …
– 200K for 25% of the company
– Lauarence asked if Jason has any previous experience
– Oh, man, tried and failed twice but will explain why it will work this time around
– Oh man, when Jason said his women’s optical stores concept came as a result of four years of reading business books, Robert fired back with this, “Jason, you are not reading business books, you are reading comics.”
– Oh man, this is really tough-love but I have to say Robert is correct in his correct idea that Jason may have been misguided by what Jason thinks he read from the business books. I feel sorry for Jason.
– Jason is telling the Dragons that, “None of you are seeing this.” Oh, …
– Jim suggests Jason to read Howard Schultz’s book “Pour Your Heart into It”
– Jim suggests Jason to read Faith Popcorn’s book on women “EVEolution : the eight truths of marketing to women”
– now it became a shouting match. Jason thinks that the Dragons don’t get it, and the Dragons think that Jason just doesn’t listen. That’s it for Jason. I think he is out soon. So sad.
– Kevin is out.
– Jim just couldn’t take it any more.
– Robert said, “Jason, I don’t think you learned anything from your failures which is unfortunate. If you fail and you learn something, then there is some value in that.”
– Jim, “The man is not getting it, I just don’t want to waste any more time.”
– Jennifer is out. (Note: I have an inappropriate comment to make about how cute Jennifer is. But I am not going say that Jennifer is cute. Oh, where is that Delete key again. (smile))
– Laurence is out too. Thats it, all out.
– That completely exhausted look on Jim’s face is priceless. Jim must have been so angry that Jason just didn’t get anything sink in.
– The post interview with Jason,
– Jason, “the money will mean I can pay back some money that I owe some money to.”
[Kempton: Finally, if the Dragons had known that Jason wanted the new money to pay for loans, then I am sure Jason would have gotten much more fire. Asking for money to pay back loan is not usually what investors want to do with their money. ]
Lisa Rozano – “The hidden you become your potential”
– created the business 10 years ago
– Lisa said the cards system is based on the inkblot test (aka, the Rorschach Inkblot Test)
– Lisa explains the cards and the system.
– Kevin asked how to make money on this
– 13.52.01 Robert asked, “how many stores are you in now?” The answer is “None”. Oh my, thats not good.
– Jim asked, “So you have this business for ten years and you haven’t got this product to any store?” Oh man, the look on Jim’s face.
– Oh man, no way the Dragons will be in now.
– Robert, “Alice, do you not see how ridiculous this is?”
– Alice, “No”
– Laurence, “Obviously not”
– Oh, the finally nasty comments from some of the Dragons were dead funny. Oh, but a ten-year old business with nothing to show for is not good.
[Kempton: The item may or may not be a good novelty thing. But the worst part is this “business” has been around for 10 years with no sales to show for. ]
Johnathon Jonathan Levine – Founder and CTO of company, developed the “Green Server”
– asking 250K for 8% of company
– Kevin: “Do you have any sales?”
– Johnathon: “No”
– Kevin: “Then you are dreaming in Technicolor.” … “No one is going to give you that kind of valuation”
– The Dragons ask to see the product.
– Johnathon claims, “It makes your PC runs faster, runs more reliably …” and use less energy.
– Kevin: “Jonathan, you got to be kidding me. How can you measure all that?”
– pulling tasks off the PC, makes the PC run with less power.
– 20W box.
– Jonathan, “100W PC cost $100 per year to run”
– “How much money can you save people?”
– Kevin, “This is your moment …”
– Robert making that drum roll sound. And Kevin is “excited” in a kind of “well-I-am-probably-not-going-to-invest-way”
– Robert, “I think you are a mad scientist who loves technology and I admire that.” … Robert is out.
– Right now, target price $300- $500, and they will try to bring the price down.
– Kevin, “A PC can be purchased for less than $500.”
– Funny Kevin said this, “I forbid you to pursue this idea and I am out.” Oh, Kevin, I think he means well and does want to try to help Jonathan here.
– 19.17:02 Jennifer, “So far you sold me a $5 saving per month”
– Kevin, “I’ve changed my mind. It is evil. It is taking multiple people’s time and wasting it. Including yours. Stop this madness. I forbid you to go forward.” Again, I won’t put it like Kevin, but I think he has the basic idea right — this product is not viable.
– Jim, “This is nuts.”
– Oh, that painful look as Jim holds his head. I honestly think Jim really feel sorry for Jonathan’s misguided idea and project. Jim is a great man.
– Kevin, “… get the government involved to stop this.” Oh Kevin.
– Post pitch
– Johnathon: “That was a blood bath.”
[Kempton: The strive for green energy is good. But the implementation may be a bit off here. The price of the machine and the “value” is such a long term thing that the sales may turn out to be very limited.]
Sean Randall – developed a pair of binocolus that can ” see through fog, haze, sandstorm, and any other environment out there”
200K for 30%
– US marine looked at it, coast guard, RCMP, ….
– invested his house money into it.
– spent 150K to get to this point.
– Kevin points out “… the sell cycle to the government is a life time.”
– Robert, “Do you have the prototype here?”
– Without the one working model to show, the dragons all backed out.
– The entrepreneur realized that by leaving the working prototype (he claimed “working”) out in Vancouver was a bad strategy.
[Kempton: Sean should have bought that “working” model if he has one. Without actually seeing it working, no investors would invest. By the way, I previously blogged about a state of the art, cutting-edge research proto-type “Live motion 3D camera” which can see thru walls and do super cool things (for example, in a gun fight situtation, the camera can turn things around and look at things from the bad guys’ prospective and see what they can or cannot see). Quoting myself in the above posting,
” … I saw a Time Domain demo a few years ago that showcased its Ultra Wideband prototype that lets one see through wall. Looking at their website today, looks like their second generation RadarVision 2 is being sold to US Law Enforcement and Federal Government Agencies.”]
Maya Sinclair – Aqua blanket incorporated
– asking for 20K in exchange for 5%
– told her passionate life-story. well presented.
– put herself through university, etc.
– hot water was getting cold in a warm bath
– idea is to keep water warm for 90 minutes (usually 10-15 minutes without the blanket)
– Laurence thinks the concept a bit bizzare
– Mayer explained in European countries, heating cost is more expensive and sometimes a family share the same bath tub of water. And the water can get cold after the kids take their bath.
– Kevin ask, “how much is it?”
– $20 – $50
– Laurence wants to feel the fabric.
– Robert, “I don’t want to like it but I like the European aspect.” … “In Europe people do that.”
– Kevin, for once, was being nice and put in gently, “The problem is people who can’t afford hot water, they can’t afford this blanket”
– Laurence checked out the material. And the material seems like sponge and felt that consumers wouldn’t want to spend money on the product.
– Jennifer put it nicely but she is out too.
– Jim, the nice gentleman that he is. He encouraged Mayer and sympathized with her struggle to come to Canada but he is out too.
– Kevin, unusual for him, but expected after what he said previously, simply encouraged Mayer to spend her time and energy on other ideas and he is out too.
– Robert told his story about his mom and dad. And this is so emotional, you have to watch it for yourself. I can’t type it or describe it well enough.
– [Kempton: I think I saw something in Maya. I don’t know what. But that spark and that drive is something that can make someone successful. Provided she receive some guidance. I am willing to work with Maya and be her Armchair Dragon. I don’t have money to invest in her but I am willing to put what I value more — my time and energy to guide her a little bit if I can. I will be just as tough as some of the dragons. If I see a bad idea, I will call it a bad idea. Which may be what see needs now. I welcome Maya to email and contact me.]
Gilad Shoham – GelFast
200K for 6% of company.
– hospital acquired infections in North America killed many many people per year, more than a whole bunch of things combined (car crashes, plane crashes, war and terrorism combined) half of these are attributed to poor hand hygiene amongst care giver.
. “… half of hospital death has been attributed to poor hand hygiene”
– Gilad’s brother is a doctor’s of infectious disease in Washington
– Dr. Dan Shoham, also a Columbia MBA (?)
– Washington hospital disease centre.- Alchol gel-based delivered device.
– Jennifer, “what is the cost of it?”
– one cariage use in one shift. cost around $2-$3
– buy the whole set? ($10) [what is a whole set?]
– can work a deal in on-going supply.
– Kevin, “I am getting warmed up. I am getting interested. My juice are flowing. Tell me how are you going to sell this?”
– Gilad: We already are. We’ve made the best relationship with distributors across Canada. So we have coast to coast coverage.
– Kevin, “Forget about Canada, lets talk about the US. What’s the plan?”
– Gilad. Right now our sales are split 50%/50% across US and Canada.
– $140,000 in the last 12 months (confirmed in dollars)
– just landed a 5 years contract with a network of hospital
– “What did you value your business at the last round where somebody put money in?”
– Hmmm, it is getting very interesting. G just asked for his business advisor. Gilad call on his brother Dan, the MBA, to explain the company’s financial.
– The family decided the business worth $5 million dollars.
– Kevin, “The family sat around and decided the business is worth $5 million. Now, you are in the real world.”
– Kevin bought the usefulness of the product but couldn’t stand the valuation of the business.
– Robert thinks the product is great.
– The Dragons — The only problem the Dragons have is the money and the equity.
– Kevin, “Show us the love guys. When I invest, I am going to bring you into the real world.”
– Kevin, “… I need my position first. Then I am going to help you. can take you to the moon.” … “Because I am greedy but greed is good.”
– Dan, “I want you to be on our board when you speak to our customers.”
– Kevin, “Lets start the bidding here.”
– Kevin: 50,000 for 5% of the business. Board seat. In your face every day. Thats what you get with me.”
– Laurence: I would also take 5% for 50,000
– Kevin: I want your cell phone number. … I will get you much high private equity at much higher valuation.
– Laurence asked Kevin, “Are you accepting me as another partner?”
– Kevin: “absolutely”
[Note by Kempton: At this point, I don’t know if many questions were cut but I would have asked a few questions on patent protections. Competitors. etc.]
– At this point, out of the blue, Robert is offering 250K for 20% of the business. Offering even more money than the brothers have asked for.
– Kevin and Laurence just got trumped.
Offering a higher valuation than the 10% for 100K (which is 20% for 200K)
– Robert, “And you don’t need other people here. You need people who are focus. And are ready to move fast. I am not in the retail type of business. I build company from zero to big, quickly. And that’s what we need to do with this product. So I will give you $250,000 for 20% of the business.”
– So they are getting more money (250K compare to 200K) but giving up 20% instead of 6%.
– Kevin and Laurence look a bit shocked as expected.
– Robert, “Do we have a deal?”
– Dan, “Unless someone wants to compete.”
– Kevin, “I am not going to bid against myself. There is a reason that they call me Mr. Wonderful. You may not find out.”
– Robert got his deal here.
– As they shook hands. Robert said, “Wow, thats a clean hand.” (big smiles from all)
– Robert said, “Kevin, do you smell that?”
– Kevin, “Smell what? Money?”
– Robert, “Money that I am making and you are not making in this deal.”
– Kevin, “It ain’t over yet. It is just the beginning of a long painful process.”
– Post pitch interview
– Diane, “How do you feel about what just happened?”
– G: “Having them dueted it out and take the whole value of the company and put it there on the table and start shooting at it, thats like shooting at my baby. But we were ultimately be able to come to a deal.”
– D: “How happy are you that Kevin is not part of the deal?”
– G: “Actually I would have liked him on, as part of the deal. He would have bought excellent energy to the company. And he was a bulldog to us but we like having those kind of people on our team. Cause we just turn them around and they are bull dog for us.”
– D: “Are you surprised that this deal happen at all?”
– G: “I am not surprise that this deal happen. I am happy that it happened so quickly. Because sometimes it takes us a bit longer to raise the money but I’m thrilled.”
I agree that Kevin will bring excellent energy to the company. Kevin is such a tenacious guy that I am sure he can bring some magic to the business.
[Kempton: I think Robert probably got himself a great deal here. But I would love to hear the bit about patent protection, competitors, etc. in the pitch if these were indeed there ??? I don’ know. I would love to work with Gilad and his team as they have some solid knowledge, business sense and contact that are great to have.]