Dragons’ Den Season 3 episode 3 review

Saturday, 11 October, 2008

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(Cross posted at Dragonfly with possible additional readers’ comments)

The following are my brief reviews and comments based on sneak peek Dragons’ Den Season 3 episode 3 pitches/ideas. The lead-in description sentences are from CBC.

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WARNING: SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t checked out the sneak peek episode yet. Why don’t you subscribe and watch the episode first.

STOP NOW! Watch the sneak peek first!

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Eco Anti Freeze – These entrepreneurs from Delta, BC run a business that repurposes anti-freeze in Vancouver and they’re looking to expand.

This money making business looks good in the beginning but then their pitch and the knowledge of their business just failed to impress. A note on pitching, it is the entrepreneurs’ duty and responsibility to organize and present a well honed pitch that works for the occasion. If the investors are confused by your pitch, don’t expect them to just sit there and let you go on. They will and should interrupt. Why? If they don’t interrupt, that means you’ve lost them and lost their interest and their minds are starting to wander off and not focus on your pitch. So let them interrupt but be very prepared to have good answers.

Now, the fact that there is no patented technologies mean that this business’ competitive advantage is not durable. If someone sees money to be made, they will come in and have the ability to take over the market if they wish to. Of course, the business may still be a good small business making decent money. It is just not something for investors.

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Buster Rhino – Darryl & Beth Koster from Whitby, ON are pitching their award-winning authentic southern barbecue sauce.

$536K sales last year, pretty good but unfortunately they didn’t make any money last year after expenses. Now, the product tastes good, according to the Dragons but Jim, the most knowlegable food expert didn’t invest cause me concerns.

I like the fact that Darryl, by cold calling, managed to land the product on the shelf of Costco.

So 200K for 51% of the company allows Robert and Brett the control of the business direction of the company and how the money will be spent (wisely). So it may work out as an investment.

I have seen successful UK Drgaons’ Den entrepreneur having a successful sauce business. And the national exposure of Dragons’ Den (first runs now, and repeat broadcast later) should create some good word of mouth and generate some free marketing and publicity. How much it cost for a 6 minutes national TV non-ad? Well, probably more than $200K! So good luck to the entrepreneurs, Robert and Brett.

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Back Buddy – Cheryl, Crystal & Kelly McEwen are a mother/daughter team from DeWinton, Alberta have invented the Back Buddy — a handle that allows a person to put on lotion on their back.

Thanks to the DD producers, I get to look at the two beautiful daughters. A hobby business at best.

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Steemee Wonder – Jerry Coogan & Joane Daoust from Montreal, QC have created their own way of making steamed hot dogs.

Haven’t sold any units. Sorry, this is not really a business.

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Amphibicraft – David Murphy from Prescott, ON has invented the Amphibicraft — a multi-functional all-terrain vehicle.

Here is an advice to inventors: Your coolest inventions may not be of use to anyone. And your friends and relatives’ opinions don’t count because they are trying to be NICE !!!!

Better, buy and read the auto-biography by one of the best inventor and businessman alive – James Dyson. To all the inventors and aspiring inventors out there, it will do you well by learning a thing or two from James. He is good but it took him a long time and a lot of trials.

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Bubbie’s Best – Lorne Morein, Taneen Khan & Mark Rutledge from Toronto, ON want to sell their kosher baby food to a mass market.

Three recent business grad with an idea that is too small in the higher competitive food baby food business.

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Ski and Skate – Giovanna Giancaspro from Montreal, QC has invented a training harness to teach children to ski and skate.

The amount money that is asked of is just silly and unrealistic. This is one horrible pitch but one that entrepreneurs can and should learn a thing or two in the “What Not To Do” department. The Dragons were right in grilling her and questioning her.

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Quicksnap – David Reynolds from Halifax, NS has invented a snap for shoes which eliminates need for shoelaces.

Sold 15,000 units. Patented. Sold for $5 each. One entrepreneur put in $100,000 into the business.

$125K for 50%. Plus Brett will put an order (as a donation, I suppose) to buy one for each serving military members in Afghanistan.

Now, I have never made or sold anything to the military. But if the products are going to be officially used, don’t the clips (even small) have to pass some sort of DND testing process (e.g. temperature, chemical, durability, etc)?

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Saxx – Like that story. The prize money. And the national and internet exposures must have helped. So this, to me, is a good reason to pitch on Dragons’ Den for some entrepreneurs.


Dragons’ Den Season 3 episode 2 review

Monday, 6 October, 2008

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(Cross posted at Dragonfly with possible additional readers’ comments)

The following are my brief reviews and comments on the Dragons’ Den Season 3 episode 2 pitches/ideas. The lead-in description sentences are from CBC.

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CBC has decided to try something new by putting the episode on the internet before it is shown on TV. As a fan, I like the idea of watching the show before it is shown on TV. The fact that I still have the TV tuned at Dragons’ Den is a proof that it didn’t hurt the TV rating (in my household). :)

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Canada Caps – Walter Bujalski from Toronto, ON says that his patriotic hats could be to Canada what the Sombrero is to Mexico.

Sorry, the cap looks ugly. And it is not really a business.

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E-Student (estudent.ca) – Kathy DaSilva from Victoria, BC has developed software to help children learn.

250K for 30%. What Kevin put on the table was not an offer. So the only deal is from Arlene’s. Good to hear Kathy has a viable business with good sales ($500,000) already. The price Arlene offered (250K for 50%) might have been too low, but Kathy probably can use some good help from Arlene to help grow the business. Good luck Kathy.

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ePawn World – Craig Benfield from Montreal, QC wants to take pawn shops online where people can buy & sell items they would normally bring to a retail pawn shop.

50K for 50%. A waste of the viewers’ time.

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Lipstixx – Diane Mackie from Barrie, ON has developed this top-coat application designed to keep lipstick on longer.

Sorry, not interested. Cosmetic is just too competitive like the dragons said.

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AFAST Supertank – Jason Eastwood from Calgary, AB wants to take old army tanks and convert them into fire fighting machines.

Jason seems to be quite nice but the Dragons’ critiques are very valid and I think the fire-fighting tank is just way too expensive to be practical.

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Curling Stones – Joe Dumouchelle from Windsor, ON has invented a curling stone with wheels so you can play on dry surfaces.

Cute but I don’t see a business here.

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Rim Roller – Paul Kind from Russell, ON has invented a device which rolls up the rim on coffee cups.

150K for 25%. Kevin’s comment is right that it is not to the coffee shops advantage to have customers claim more prizes. Paul has made $100,000 from this tool. May be Paul has a small business here.

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Aerial Angles – Allison Williams from Ottawa, ON & Zay Weaver are fire eating acrobatic street performers who are ready to entertain the Dragons.

Nice to look at but I am very surprised that Brett made a $250,000 investment for half of the business. Brett’s view is that in a portfolio of entertainment and sports businesses, he can afford to have some failed businesses and as long as some of them are hits, then he might make money off the portfolio as a whole. For me, this is too risky a business and for $250,000 is just way too much to pay, in my humble opinion. The likes of Cirque du Soleil and creative and visionary people like Guy Laliberté are hard to come by. Mind you, I wonder if the publicity from Dragons can bring enough additional business for the Aerial Angles?

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9th Oct, 2008 Update: Allison left me a comment with their website, so I have added their website and I also decided to include this pretty cool promo video. Good luck to them all.


Dragons’ Den Season 3 episode 1 review

Monday, 29 September, 2008

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(Cross posted at Dragonfly with possible additional readers’ comments)

The following are my brief reviews and comments on the Dragons’ Den Season 3 episode 1 pitches/ideas. The lead-in description sentences are from CBC.

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The Dragons’ dynamics between Arlene, Brett, Jim, Kevin, and Robert works out nicely.

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Fit 2 Touch – by Peter Pereira and Edna Melculj from Mississauga, ON

They are personal trainers who were making a workout DVD designed for couples when they ended up falling in love.

– Asking $100,000 for 50% of business. $24.99 per DVD. Sold 300 so far.

The couple are cute to look at but cute couple doesn’t mean there is a viable business.

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KickSpike – by Darrel & Colleen Bachman from Penticton, BC

They have invented a golf shoe which solves the problem of ruined greens due to spikes.

– $1 million for 10% of business.

– Entrepreneurs claim to have obtain a solid worldwide patent.

* Final deal is five dragons split $1 million for 30% of company ** contingent ** on the entrepreneurs getting a licensing deal.

* I want to make a special comment on Brett making an initial deal of 25% and the discussions that came after. Ultimately, Brett asked the entrepreneurs if they would let him off that deal and have a new deal with all five dragons for 30% of the company, a potentially better deal with more expertise. It is important for Brett and I think it is the right thing to do in asking for the entrepreneurs’ release.

* Now, this deal is “contingent” on getting a licensing deal first. To me, it is very close to a risk-less “investment”. There is no investment, no money down, when there is no licensing deal.

I won’t mind investing $1 million for 30% of someone’s lottery tickets ** contingent ** on one of the ticket is a winning $30 million ticket. :)

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Kuli Kuli – by Pedro Baquero from Toronto, ON

Pedro invented this booty-shaking game after watching videos on MTV.

Big smile but not a business at all.

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Bee Gone – by Tom Filler from Kitchener, ON

Tom has come up with a unique approach to getting rid of bees.

Asking for $50,000. No go at all.

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Pizza Pak – by Ron Fisher from Toronto, ON

Ron has designed a plastic pizza case that would replace cardboard boxes and help reduce waste.

Asking for $500,000 for 50%

Unworkable idea. Not worth my time to review and critique it. Jim said it all, returnable pizza box is a no go.

Very sad that Ron just doesn’t get it even Jim gave him a straight forward critique.

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Wrinkles – by Shari Petro from Milton, ON

She has written a reality book for kids from the perspective of her pug dog, Wrinkles.

* $100K for 30%

* Oh, no. An entire business empire based on the dog Wrinkles. No go. Forget about it. Not really a business.

Kevin is toying with the entrepreneurs, as he likes to do it sometime. Bad habit dies hard, I suppose.

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The Litter House – by Daniel Dykens & Robert English from Orangeville, ON

They have created a deluxe cat litter box that keeps mess & odour contained.

– $100,000 for 10% of business

Cute cat. But simply bad business. Worked on it for 8 years? a cat house for $80. Not a good use of time.

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Hybrid Backpack – by Aphirath Vongnaraj from Winnipeg, MB

Aphirath has invented a backpack which can be attached to a bicycle.

$2 million for 30%. No good. And just bad.

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Softshell Computers – by Raul Rupsingh & Steven Breath from London, ON

They are software engineers who have developed an interface for seniors to send & receive email & photos.

– 200K for 30%

– Touch screen. User interface. Beta tester use it for 10 months.

– Arlene, Jim, Robert – 200K for 50%. They’ve got connections.

They see a business in this but I don’t. I guess thats why they are investing in it and I am not. :)


Two more weeks till Season 3 of CBC Dragons’ Den

Monday, 15 September, 2008

Wow, it is only two more weeks till Season 3 of CBC Dragons’ Den starts on Sept 29th, 2008. I am very much looking forward to watching and reviewing some pitches and businesses.

Now, may be I am too strict on this (I think I am stricter than CBC), here is what I have been telling Dragons’ Den entrepreneurs who want me to feature them before the season starts.

In keeping with my “tradition” of not featuring any entrepreneurs (whether they will surely be on TV or not on TV), I am sorry that I won’t be able to feature your business. […]

As I have been telling all aspiring Dragons‘ Den entrepreneurs that I’ve come into contacts with, I admire every single one of them as they had taken the challenging first step to try to create a viable business. Some will be more successful than others, but that is the nature of business.


Season 3 Dragons’ Den auditions in Calgary

Friday, 18 April, 2008

Went out to help Mike and Vincenzo audition some local Calgarian entrepreneurs. Here are some photos.

Can you guess what is being pitched? (hint: not the gun.)

This father and son team pitched well. Here is their YouTube pitch on CBC’s Dragons’ Den site and their story on the local Shaw TV news.

Isn’t this dragon cute? (smile)


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