Do The Den’s Dragons actually invest in anything? Techvibes v. CBC – Asking Dragons, Den entrepreneurs for deal data

Wednesday, 2 November, 2011

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** Techvibes challenges CBC‘s & Dragons‘ credibility **

As a long time fan (since 2006) of CBC Dragons’ Den, it is painful to see CBC‘s & Dragons‘ investment credibility being questioned in the Techvibes article “The Den’s Dragons didn’t invest in Notewagon after all. But really, do they actually invest in anything?” (emphasis added) which was linked by CBC Facebook Fan Club. Here is an excerpt from the last part of the article (emphasis added),

The second issue is that Dragon’s Den deals aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Even in the U.K., critics insist that the show is pure entertainment […] Just because a Dragon or two agrees to give entrepreneurs X number of dollars for a Y stake in the company, it doesn’t mean anything will actually happen after the cameras stop rolling. There’s due diligence and the added fact that Dragon money isn’t always pure.

** Gathering CBC Dragons’ Den Canadian deals data **

In Knowlton’s articleNotewagon is discussed and two UK articles are referenced before Knowlton challenges CBC Dragons’ investment credibility. You see, these questions are not new in UK and Canada. Early this year in March 2011, I was researching for an in-depth article about Dragons’ Den, planning to write about, amongst many topics, the deals the Dragons made on TV vs deals they actually closed. I was able to find some deal data for one dragon Brett Wilson (more on this later). I thought if facts & figures like actual deals closed and by what Dragons vs. TV deals made were published, people’s questions and doubts would have been addressed.

To get my research going, I sent the following questions to CBC Head of Media Relations, Mr. Jeff Keay on March 17,

1) I would like to find out the number of deals the dragons made on air for each of the Dragons’ Den season (including the current).
2) The number of deals the dragons closed after due diligence in each of the season.

I got a prompt reply the next day on March 18 from Jeff saying,

Checking. Back to you soon.

Unfortunately, I got no further respond after followup emails & voice mails to Jeff on March 22 & 28. In fact, Jeff never got back to me. I eventually had to give up on the story.

** Actual Closed Deals data from one Dragon

(former Dragon Brett Wilson) **

As I mentioned before, as far I can find, the only comprehensive actual closed deals data I found were published by former Dragon Brett Wilson. Again, as far as I can tell, no other Dragons have publicly published any actual closed deals data! 

Brett made public the number of deals he has done on TV (60+ deals) in three years, actually closed after due diligence (30 deals) and also the amount of money invested (over $4.5 million) in a Prairie Merchant (Brett’s company) Feb 28th, 2011 press release “Dragon With A Heart Leaves the Den” (emphasis added),

“After three years on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, doing 60 plus deals in the Den and personally committing over $4.5 million in final deals with 30 Canadian entrepreneurs, W. Brett Wilson, the lead deal making Dragon, confirmed today that he will not return for the show’s next season.”

** Deals data from Dragons, CBC Dragons’ Den, or

Den entrepreneurs with TV & actually closed deals **

To me, one way to positively addresses people’s legitimate concerns about “but really, do they actually invest in anything?” is to have the Dragons, CBC, or Den entrepreneurs with TV & actually closed deals to provide deals data (the TV deals vs. what Dragon actually closed what deals, amounts invested & percentage, etc) so that Canadian fans of the show, and potential Den entrepreneurs can have some transparency & credibility back in the Dragons’ Den deals and process itself.

As a long time Dragons’ Den fan (since 2006) and champion of DD even before the show was launched in Canada, I hate to see people lose faith in Dragons’ Den‘s deals and its process. This is the 6th year of CBC Dragons’ Den and lots of Canadian entrepreneurs put their hopes on dreams into the show. Can you imagine if the deals are done on TV by Dragons for show only? And most deals fail to close? Imagine the Dragons ALWAYS can find reasons in due diligence phase to kill deals (small or big), will you still be interested in watching the show?

** Grounding Dragons’ Den popularity

with business facts & figures **

Looking back five years to 2006 when CBC just launched Dragons’ Den, I am still amazed how much Globe & Mail’s reporter John Doyle hated/trashed DD in its infancy even criticizing the set as “dark basement is, you know, dreary.” I will not forget my Oct 3rd and Oct 4th, 2006 articles jumping to DD’s defence when it was still an unproven show, long before DD is popular.

Now, over five years later and CBC Dragons’ Den is successful money making machine for CBC (with all the re-runs), I think fans of the show and potential Canadian Den entrepreneurs deserve to see their favourite show grounded with “actual closed deals” and actual business facts & figures and not just be satisfied by “TV deals”.


Dan Eisner, True North Mortgage

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011

In 2007, I was impressed by Dan Eisner‘s mortgage brokerage business, True North Mortgage, when he described how lucrative and profitable it was when I met him at the Calgary Dragons’ Den audition.

By chance I met Dan again today, and he said he now has 7, yes SEVEN, officies across Canada (2 in Calgary, 2 in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax).

I am happy for Dan. Have a watch of my video interview with Dan Eisner in 2007.


Elle Boetticher, Pro Elvis Jumpsuits, interview at Brett Wilson’s Garden Party 2011

Friday, 24 June, 2011

Elle Boetticher, Pro Elvis Jumpsuits

It was my pleasure to finally meet Elle Boetticher owner of Pro Elvis Jumpsuits in person after watching her pitched on Dragons’ Den and wrote about her business in 2009. The following is my video interview with Elle at Brett Wilson’s Garden Party 2011.

The following are a few highlights of my video interview with Elle,

0:00 Elle talks about her Pro Elvis Jumpsuits business and shows of her products.

0:43 How much did Brett invest and when was it? For the loan, what was the interest rate?

1:42 How was the money (both investment and loan from Brett) used? Read the rest of this entry »


Boomer’s Legacy in Calgary (tonight, June 22nd)

Tuesday, 22 June, 2010

Calgary entrepreneur, philanthropist, and Dragons’ Den investor W. Brett Wilson features a charity each year at his garden party. At the 2010 garden party tonight (June 22nd), the featured charity is Boomer’s Legacy (see also forces.gc.ca article), a foundation developed to directly aid the women and children of Afghanistan.

You can find more information about Corporal Andrew James Eykelenboom “Boomer” who was killed by a suicide bomber in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan on August 11, 2006.

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June 23 Update: Brett’s Garden Party was fun.

me & Brett Wilson

At the same time, the party also had its very solemn moment. I’ve written more about what Maureen (mother of Andrew “Boomer”) told us at the party and what Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay said.


UseMyBank Trademark Opposed? – CBC Dragons’ Den

Wednesday, 3 March, 2010

I am a big fan of CBC Dragons’ Den but passive viewing is not my thing. And when the story is interesting, I like to dig deeper and, over the years, I’ve interviewed Dragons, Dragons’ Den entrepreneurs and conducted followup interviews with the pitching entrepreneurs.

Tonight, after spending sometime (half an hour) of time to research, I was unable to find much external & independent information about UseMyBank (a Season 5, episode 6 pitch) to understand and appreciate their claims of profits on TV and their business.

Anyway, I “naturally” (it is naturally to me) turned to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to do a trademark database search. (note: the patent search link is on the same CIPO page)

To my surprise, I found that UseMyBank‘s Trademark application (from an online search of “usemybank” or application number 1253705) is currently “opposed” by none other than Bank of Montreal. So I naturally wonder if BMO is doing any business with UseMyBank while BMO is trying to take down its trademark? How about other members of the big 5 banks?

Again, since the business name has been “Used in CANADA since December 12, 2002” (according to the trademark application), and the business has been a success according to the pitch on TV, I am a little surprised for the lack of external & independently verifiable information of it as a business. Any big city Canadian newspapers or magazines available online will help me a lot but I found none.

May be someone can help me here. I am, to say the least, confused about UseMyBank as a business. Can anyone send me links to some external & independent sources of information re UseMyBank?

Note: You can download and read the Trademarks Regulations (current to Feb 2010) here. Of interest are rules 35 – 42.

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Mar 4th, 2010, 7:42am Update: Please see followup comments here.

Jan 13th, 2011 Update: Just watched Use My Bank (Brian Crozier & Joseph Iuso) pitched for the second time (season 5, episode 11) on Dragons Den. I can’t say I enjoyed watching their pitch at all because they pitched their business with information (the stacks of business details on paper) only the Dragons got to read and analyze. Seeing Brian & joseph rejecting the $1million for 51% without knowing more about what their business is at now is neither meaningful nor interesting.


Dragons’ Den Season 4 episode 1 review

Thursday, 1 October, 2009
  • Very nice new intro to season 4 Dragons’ Den.
  • Good to see all Dragons back healthy and breathing serious fire!
  • note: I am not going to comment on the non-businesses as the “fun” factor for me to review them has dropped to practically zero. I see little point in beating up ill-thoughtout businesses.

Mistura Beauty

I don’t know much about cosmetic so I won’t comment on Mistura Beauty much other than to say the cosmetic industry is one that takes a lot of marketing and advertising dollars to build and not an easy industry to build a reliable and solid business in. I see Brett has a few other related business and getting into the cosmetic business may make sense to him.

“We Buy Gold”/”The Gold Network” (website??)

Potential problems with Tim Wallis’ “We Buy Gold”/”The Gold Network”:

Trust is one big challenge in this business. Can Mr. Wallis be trusted? I don’t know Tim at all so I don’t know. Can the whole network of retailers be trusted to do the business fairly and honourably? In the age of online social media, it only takes a few bad apples to expose frauds and problems and breaking any public trust. Even Ontario Lottery has problems with its retailers.

May be I am too old school for this type of business but I value my business reputation deeply. So while the “gold” business may be a short run cash machine, it has one major problem. The problem is if some of these “retailers” decide to do business less honest than they should, the financial liabilities will be rest on the well-known Dragons/investors. And if the Dragons/investors wish to keep their reputations intact, they will have to pay up (even legally they don’t need to).

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As a reminder for myself, here is a quote about Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) from the Warren Buffett insightful bio Snowball (pg 655),

“We thought they [the LTCM people] were very smart people,” says Munger. “But we were a little leery of the complexity and leverage. We were very leery of being used as a sales lead. We knew others would follow if we got in.” Munger thought Long-Term wanted Berkshire as a “Judas goat.” “The Judas goat led the animals to slaughter in the stockyards,” he says, recalling Omaha. “The goat would live for fifteen years, and of course the animals that followed it would die every day as it betrayed them. Not that we didn’t admire the intellect of the people at Long-Term.”


DragonShark

Friday, 10 July, 2009

Two Dragons from CBC Dragons’ Den are becoming Sharks on ABC. Find out who they are.

I am sure the two DragonSharks will have lots of fun. I just hope the ABC series will do the Dragons’ Den format justice.

P.S. Call me snobbish if you like, I love the original BBC Antiques Roadshow but the US PBS version is just too cheesy for my taste.


Brett’s Garden Party: 777 Run for Sight, Canadian Tenors, and the beautiful Sarah McLachlan

Monday, 29 June, 2009

Last week, I had had the pleasure of attending Brett Wilson‘s yearly charity Garden Party. Each year, party guests are invited to make a donation to a featured charity. And this year over $100,000 was raised to fight blindness through 777 Run for Sight where Norma Bastidas is “running 7 ultramarathons [over 100 km each] in 7 continents in 7 months to raise funds for the blind and the visually impaired.” (see my earlier blog entry here)

It was very enjoyable listening to The Canadian Tenors performing at the party. And the highlight of the party for my better half and me had to be listening to the beautiful and accomplished Sarah McLachlan performing with the Tenors (singing Tenors’ Hallelujah) and then performing a few solos. Sarah’s performances were just beautiful and wonderful for us as it was our first live & really up close performance by Sarah!

Now, I first met Brett and Sarah at the 2009 Banff World TV Festival award ceremony where I also interviewed Brett.

Sarah, Brett & me

So to me, Sarah & Brett seems to be more than just friends, but then only they really know!  :) :) In person, Brett & Sarah are just super nice and very friendly people. I think it is in part of our Canadian DNA to be nice and friendly. :)

P.S. The following are better quality videos [recorded elsewhere] of the songs we had the pleasure to listen to at the party that evening. Enjoy.


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.


CBC Dragons’ Den Sneak Peek

Saturday, 11 October, 2008

After sneak peeking two episodes of Dragons’ Den before it airs by simply subscribing to CBC’s Dragons’ Den newsletters, I am sold.

I think “subscribe to sneak peek” is a great way to draw Dragons’ Den fans’ attention and even love the show more to a dangerous level! I love these sneak peeks.

Now, I think CBC is also smart in opening up its shows (DD, Fifth Estate, The Hour, etc) this way to keep the shows’ fans informed and engaged. Keeping the audience and spreading to new audiences (friends of fans) when a particular show episode is really good and the links are forwarded.

If you live in Canada, subscribe to CBC’s Dragons’ Den newsletters and have a sneak peek of the next episode to be aired Monday.


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.


W. Brett Wilson on “Experiences From a Survivor” – Prostaid Calgary

Monday, 6 October, 2008

It may seem simple but we have to take care of ourselves (including our health) before we can enjoy the fruits of our labour.

So I truly appreciate Brett sharing his personal experience at Prostaid Calgary in his “Experiences From a Survivor” presentation (Google video).

Now, for the female entrepreneurs out there, I participated in the 2008 CIBC Run for the Cure yesterday and I’ve included some important information about breast cancer in my CIBC Run entry there.

I think there are some truth in saying “health before money”, so let me wish you the best of health.


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.


Brett Wilson interviewed on CBC Radio

Wednesday, 30 July, 2008

Here is Brett Wilson interviewed on CBC Radio. Enjoy.

P.S. I’ve bought back the “tradition” of including a Dragonfly picture in postings related to Dragons’ Den. Hope you like it.


Dragons shoot Cadillac in Forest Hill

Thursday, 24 July, 2008
Shooting the Cadillac

Shooting the Cadillac

Reading my friend the CBC Dragons’ Den producer Mike Armitage went to Forest Hill to shoot a slick new opening sequence brings back some nice memories for me. After all, I spent my first year in Canada attending Forest Hill CI and doing some some studying (and class skipping) at the library next door. (smile)

I am so looking forward to Season 3 of Dragons’ Den.


Stampede sighting of Dragon and Singer/Songwriter

Monday, 7 July, 2008

At a Stampede breakfast this past weekend, I was very pleasantly surprised to run into Brett Wilson, Calgary entrepreneur and CBC newest Dragon in Dragons’ Den (see my interview with Brett here and here), and his business partner Beverley Mahood, a talented singer/songwriter with several #1 hit songs and co-writer of the hit single “Come to Me” performed by Celine Dion. (see Beverley’s bio for more info)

Here are a few of the songs that I like and hope you may enjoy too. Here they are.

The newly released “This Girl

The newly released “Freckles“. (note: the lyrics and ideas of this song are wonderful and reminds me of Dove’s Evolution a bit.)

The #1 song “The First Day You Wake up Alone


Chatting with Brett Wilson, chairman of FirstEnergy Capital, CBC newest Dragon – Part 1

Friday, 6 June, 2008

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Last year, I had wonderful chats with five successful Canadian business people Arlene, Jim, Kevin, Laurence,Robert (“Dragons” to the fans of Dragons’ Den) and Dianne (host of DD).

This year, I had the great pleasure to chat with Brett Wilson, chairman of FirstEnergy Capital, the newest investor in Dragons’ Den. As a bonus to me, we chatted at Brett’s beautiful home (some pictures in this post).

The following are part of my video chats with Brett. Feel free to leave a comment or feedback. Enjoy.

I will be posting the other video chats next week. Stay tune.

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Nov 8th, 2012 Update: The interview video clips have been transfered from the now defunct Google Video to YouTube.

Engineering & Business school,
Early investment experiences

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Early work experiences & Business School
Consumer & Buyer behaviour

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Starting his business


In a Dragon’s Den – Chat with Brett Wilson, chairman of FirstEnergy Capital, entrepreneur extraordinaire, CBC newest Dragon

Monday, 2 June, 2008

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I had thought it might take me a few weeks or a month or two to arrange an interview with Calgarian Brett Wilson, chairman of FirstEnergy Capital, entrepreneur extraordinaire, and newest CBC Dragon. So I was surprised and delighted to hear from Brett this morning (a Sunday) inviting me to have a chat with him in his home (wow, my first visit to a Dragon’s home, a true Dragon’s Den).

And as expected, I had a nice and insightful chat with Brett. And he was as nice in person as I have heard from others and seen from his interview with Dragons’ Den host Dianne Buckner.

Check out part 1 and part 2 of my video interviews with Brett. And here are a few photos.


W. Brett Wilson – The Five Million Dollar Man

Tuesday, 27 May, 2008

Sept 29, 2008 Update: Here are my two video interviews with Brett Wilson, chairman of FirstEnergy Capital, CBC newest Dragon – video clips part 1 & part 2.

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I couldn’t find any public record but I suspect W. Brett Wilson, the newest CBC Dragon and chairman of FirstEnergy Capital, worths considerably more than five million dollars. (big smile) Here is what Brett told Globe and Mail Report on Business in a 2007 interview,

[Reporter:] How much money do you have to work with?
[Brett:] Enough to get by. I like a model used in some private banking circles: You have three buckets of assets. The first bucket is your lifestyle assets; the second is the assets required to protect that lifestyle; and the third is your adventure assets. I have a significant adventure assets pool. I am looking at acquiring land across Western Canada, investing in the service and the power sectors, and I’m still buying into start-up oil and gas companies.

Where do your children fit in?
When you get hit by the bus in life, you’ve got two places to send your money—children or charity. I’m not a big fan of this practice of opening the will to determine where Dad’s money went. My kids know the vast bulk of my estate will go to charity. The issue for me is giving while living, and the best way to manage that. I’ll be doing a lot of philanthropic work using both my leadership skills and my money. And the kids will be fine. None of them can live on the inheritance because, frankly, there isn’t one. Both my ex-wife and I hope they will develop passion in their own right.

You see, the $5 million mentioned was one of Brett’s latest charitable donations, an amount donated to help create the new Southern Alberta Institute of Urology.

Sean Wise has two interesting entries here and here about Brett (with photos). Here is a link to a very well researched and written article in Avenue magazine when Brett won the Person of the Year. (highly recommended)

P.S. Brett (his plan of having “vast bulk of my estate will go to charity” and his focus on integrity and honesty) reminds me a little bit of Warren Buffett (more on Warren here).


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