Bruce Croxon, new CBC Dragon

June 28, 2011

I haven’t visited the CBC Dragons’ Den site for a while. Today, I found the charming Lisa Gabriele, Senior Producer of Dragons’ Den, spoke to “Bruce Croxon, a 50-year-old, married father of two young children, who lives in downtown Toronto“. Have a watch of the video. Season 6 of CBC Dragons’ Den comes back in Sept 2011.


G&M: Taming the dragon: Should the CBC muzzle Kevin O’Leary?

March 21, 2011

An insightful article by G&M’s Marsha Lederman. For the record.

Taming the dragon: Should the CBC muzzle Kevin O’Leary?
From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 18, 2011 4:30PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Mar. 18, 2011 5:39PM EDT

From the beach at a posh Bahamas hotel, Kevin O’Leary is assuring Amanda Lang, via Skype, that the Japanese earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster – though horrific, he takes pains to point out – may be just what Japan needs for an economic turnaround. “I’m very bullish on nuclear right now,” O’Leary pronounces in attire that is more beach than business. “It’s a buying opportunity.”

This Lang & O’Leary Exchange moment last Monday is classic O’Leary: he’s a dragon, he’s a shark; breathing fire, gobbling up prey. Japan is in crisis, but he sees a business opportunity. Greed is good.

“When I’m discussing a decision around an investment, I’m not trying to make friends,” O’Leary said during an interview this week (not specifically referencing Japan). “I don’t care if people can’t take the truth.”

O’Leary, who also stars on CBC TV’s popular Dragons’ Den and its U.S. cousin Shark Tank on ABC, likes to describe himself as “slightly right of Attila the Hun.” He’s proud of his modus operandi: no holds barred, make no apologies.

Well, usually.

After O’Leary was called out by CBC ombudsman Kirk LaPointe for his now infamous use of the term “Indian giver” on The Lang & O’Leary Exchange, he did ultimately apologize. It was a rare exception for the loudmouthed entrepreneur who has become an important part of the CBC brand. Read the rest of this entry »

Brett Wilson talks to media about leaving CBC Dragons’ Den

March 1, 2011

Of all the reports/interviews I could find today (Feb 28th, Monday) about Brett leaving Dragons’ Den, I want to say I enjoy the report (see below) from Calgary Sun‘s Lisa Wilton the most (very detail and insightful). Feel wonderful to be pleasantly surprised Calgary Sun.

Reports (see below) in Ottawa CitizenNational Post, Canadian Press, NewsTalk980 all added a little something and worth a read. And then there are reports in Toronto Star and Calgary Herald.

Here is an excerpt from Calgary Sun “Wilson opens up regarding ‘Den” (I added the emphasis anyway even I ended up putting emphasis on everything! :) ),

[ Q ] – Did your reason for leaving just come down to a contract negotiation breakdown?

Well, it started in December.

They gave me three weeks to sign the contract, take it or leave it.

There were some issues with the contract. First of all, they tried to cut the compensation. We negotiated that and got that solved. And they wanted to stop me from going on any other networks, so we negotiated that and got that solved.

Where we got stuck was on schedule. When I told them I had a family vacation and I wasn’t prepared to vary, they told me that wouldn’t work.

So, I politely advised that I would have to be out of the show because I wasn’t prepared to walk away from the vacation. It’s the first time I’ve had all three kids in one place in two years so I wasn’t going to walk away from that. It meant more to me than another season of the show.

Then CBC moved heaven and earth, and I really give them credit for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Brett Wilson leaving CBC Dragons’ Den

February 24, 2011

This morning, I am saddened to read from TorStar and Calgary Herald that Brett Wilson is leaving the CBC hit show Dragons’ Den. Here is an excerpt from TorStar,

Entrepreneur Brett Wilson is leaving the show Dragons’ Den at the end of the current season.

CBC-TV executive Julie Bristow says Wilson and the broadcaster could not agree on the terms of his contract.

Brett is a great guy and one of my most favourite Dragon on the show. I love the fact that Brett managed to find ways to close most of his Den’s deals. I like many of the businesses he invests in and secretly wish I could also invest in some of them if I am given the chance! (I won’t name them publicly here. :)

I will add more to this article if I have more to report.

I know I will miss watching Brett on the show. Good luck and all the best Brett.

P.S. On a personal note, in June 2008, Brett was really nice in agreeing to be video interviewed by me and he answered every question I had. It was a great pleasure to know Brett before he appeared on the Den. And I can honestly say Brett has always been the same easy going, friendly and nice guy. Here are links to part 1 and part 2 of the video interviews.

Note: For more updates (latest Feb 28th update with links to Brett’s official press release), see cross posted entry here.

3twenty Solutions gives new life to old shipping containers

February 4, 2011

3twenty Solutions‘ Bryan McCrea, Channing McCorriston & Evan Willoughby gave a wonderful pitch of their business on CBC Dragons’ Den. I love interesting use of containers, and I am impressed with the 3twenty‘s business and its tagline of “durable, stackable, transportable modular structures – give new life to old shipping containers”. Seem like a wonderful business idea with some good potentials. As a business, new entrants to the market can probably copy and compete with them without much difficulties but I trust the entrepreneurs will work very hard to ensure a good return for themselves and their investors.

Best of luck to the 3twenty team. Check out their Facebook, YouTube video, Twitter, and Flickr photos. Here is their pitch video on the Den.

Here is a CBC news video clip (posted in May 2010) about 3twenty going to the Den to ask for money with more details.

Snappy Socks

February 4, 2011

To me, Snappy Socks‘ Corla Rokochy is one of those entrepreneurs that has the can-do spirit. And she is also very likeable. It was wonderful to see her receiving investment from the Dragons (I can’t remember for sure but I think from Arlene and Brett).

The socks look cute and the snap-on button is a great idea. If there is one thing I don’t like about the business, it is that anyone can attach a snap-on button to their socks. And if the idea/business become successful, there is nothing stopping other copycat businesses from anywhere (including China) from attaching snap-on buttons to their socks. Hopefully, the initial investment will have generated enough returns for Corla and the Dragons by then, and Corla will have created new products to sell.

Best of luck to Corla and Snappy Socks!

Honibe – The Business and Patent

February 4, 2011

Honibe pitched their dry solid honey “honey you can hold business on the Jan 19, 2011 episode of CBC Dragons’ Den. Although I haven’t tried the product and don’t know how good/bad it tastes, it seems like a good idea (even it may seem a bit pricey).

Knowing I won’t have time in the next while to write a more detail article about Honibe, let me share with you what I’ve found so far. Here are links to Honibe’s Canadian trademark (TMA729391) and patent (CA 2649936) for interested readers. I had tried but was unable to find Honibe’s US patent filings (to me, US patent is important to have since US is a much bigger market than Canada). For those that are new to patents, one can learn a lot about about a business from its patents (in this case, Honibe’s patent).

National Post has an article “Sweet deals buzzing around honey firm” about the pitch and the business and provided an update of the deal. News from CBC, “Dragons’ Den offers $1M deal to P.E.I. company

There is a press release from the governments,  “Federal and Provincial Governments Congratulate Island Abbey Foods on Winning International Award” when Honibe won the prize for Best in Canada 2010, Best of Sweet Grocery Category 2010 and Best New Food Product in the World 2010, the Global SIAL d’Or, at the Paris-based awards.

Here is a video of Honibe Dragons’ Den pitch.