Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Where Dragons Dare

Tonight is the fourth (and second last) episode of Dragons’ Den on CBC TV. If you haven’t seen it, give it a try. It’s a fun show that also offers lots of useful business information.

(In fact, I gave a talk this morning on starting a business that referred to some of the most common startup mistakes. I was able to cite several recent examples seen this month on Dragons’ Den (e.g., the perils of fudging your numbers, or the high cost of not doing proper market research).

To see how the Dragons looks from the contestants’ angle, check out the blog at The four principals actually did a deal with the Dragons, and they recently blogged about it here. What’s amazing is they had to keep quiet about the deal and not tell anyone since the program was taped over two months ago!

As Sunny Mokha writes on the blog, “Imagine trying to keep this a secret from everyone you know, including your own parents.” (Funny – I always figured that keeping secrets from your parents was just part of being young.)

Jobloft is a location-based job-search application, aiming at low-end, entry-level jobs (eg retail, hospitality) where things like location and access to transit matter. Try it for free by inputting your postal code to see what jobs are available near you - it's pretty clever.)

I saw an early version of their pitch and it was interesting to see the Dragons’ inherent hostility (“How is this different from what Workopolis is doing?”) slowly turn to interest.

In the end, the five Dragons counter-offered for 50% of the company, rather than the 20% the four young co-founders were offering. The entrepreneurs had to go away and think about it, but eventually came to the right decision.

“The power of network, experience and business acumen is worth its weight in gold, far surpassing any monetary value,” blogs Sunny. “Not many 23-24 year olds out of university can say that their partners are Laurence Lewin, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary, Jim Treliving and Jennifer Wood.”

The drama continues tonight at 8. (8:30 in Newfoundland)

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