Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Dragons Cometh

Less than two weeks to the debut of Dragon's Den, the CBC-TV show that positions real-life millionaire Canadian entrepreneurs as potential investors in startup businesses pitched by other real-life Canadian entrepreneurs (who presumably hope to become millionaires themselves one day). It looks like it'll be a great combination of original business information and fun, personality-driven entertainment.

If you've read my previous posts, you'll know the show was shot last month, and goes for five episodes in October. Watch the first one, because if you like it, you'll want to watch 'em all.

Dragon's Den should provide great lessons in how savvy entrepreneur/investor brains work, as well as in the many, many mistakes that people make when pitching for startup funds. As well, there were a few deals made, so you'll be able to see the approaches the "dragons" make and how much negotiation it takes before you come to a deal.

(Lesson One: Even if you set the terms going into a pitch, expect them to get redefined pretty drastically.)

And believe me, this stuff is real. These dragons are spending their own money. They've done some due diligence since the taping, of course, but I hear the first deal is supposed to be signed next Monday.

By the way, the drama on these post-show deals is so intense (with debates about where the businessesd should go next and how the investment funds should be applied) that the producers have started to film one of the deals in hopes of doing a follow-up show later in the season. So watch now to boost the ratings if you want more later.

(BTW, the British version of the show continues to do well on BBC2. In fact, with Dragon's Den in its schedule BBC2 recently garnered higher ratings than BBC1, traditionally the more "mass-audience" channel.)

I had a chance to interview each of the five Canadian Dragons for a special supplement in PROFIT magazine. The result is in the October issue, on sale now. You can also read it for free here, but don't tell them I told you.

Final tidbit: The show's theme song is quite apt: "Put your money where your mouth is."

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