The 10 Most Successful Pitches On Dragons’ Den
Dragons’ Den is a hit show around the world, with a variety of adaptions and spin-offs. The show originated in Japan – The Tigers of Money – and a similar show was created in the UK starting the original Dragons’ Den. It has branched out all over the world, with hundreds of entrepreneurs receiving investments and becoming wildly successful.
Dragons’ Den Canada is no exception, and we’ve gathered a list of ten of the most successful pitches throughout the twelve years the show has been airing. From gardening equipment to shoe jewelry to cereal called Holy Crap, read on to see some of the best businesses to cross Dragons’ Den in Canada.
Undergarments By Natalie Grunberg
Impress your friends by sending them 12 pairs of underwear straight to their mailbox. Boasting that their line of fancy undergarments will ‘make the postman blush’, pitchers Natalie Grunberg and Lori Sholzberg bring a rather unique and sexy idea to the Den.
Claudette Leduc from Quebec stepped foot in the Dragons’ Den in 2010 to hopefully secure an investment of $100,000 for 20% of her company. She pitched Dr. Mist – an all-natural deodorant incorporating Dead Sea minerals and salt, with promises that the deodorant will keep wearers odor-free for up to three days. Dragon Brett Wilson jumped at the chance to get a part of the action, offering the full $100k in exchange 20% and a royalty of 5% on sales.
Dr. Mist is doing extremely well, even reaching the US Market. It has become Canada’s number one natural deodorant and can be found in a lot of major retailers including Amazon and Costco. Just two years after the episode aired, Dr. Mist had sold more than 120,000 units resulting in gross revenues of over $1 million.
Love Child Organics
Couple John and Leah Garrad-Cole from Whistler, British Columbia, went on Dragons’ Den in season 8, pitching their organic snack food brand for children. One of their first products they created was a single-portion pureed food that differentiated itself by using pure organic ingredients such as quinoa and acerola fruit.
The Dragons loved the company, and it was the biggest deal in Canadian Dragons’ Den history. On the show, the couple asked for $300,000 in exchange for 7.5% of their company – valuing their company at $4 million. After the episode was recorded, during the due diligence process, Walmart in the US offered placements. This caused the Garrad-Coles requiring more capital, but also increasing their valuation. They ended up with a $750,000 investment for 10% equity. In 2014, Love Child Organics had a net revenue of $5.0 million, jumping 213% from the previous year.
In the fourth season of Dragons’ Den Canada, along with Dr. Mist another successful business received investment. Shoelery by Erica Giuliani was pitched by Patricia and Nadia Macri, which was founded in 2008, and their shoe accessories were a hit from the beginning. The Macri sisters sought an investment of $60,000 for 33% of their company, and received an investment from Arlene Dickinson.
Dickinson offered the full amount the sisters were seeking, for 33% of their business. Since appearing on Dragons’ Den, Shoelery makes millions of dollars each year and has secured deals with hundreds of stores around the world.
Dig It Apparel
The fourth season of Canadian Dragons’ Den saw some great entrepreneurs, as long-time friends Wendy Johannson and Claudia Harvey appeared to pitch their Dig It Handware. Johannson and Harvey became business partners in 2008 and created their gardening glove that protects manicured hands. They sought an investment of $50,000 in exchange for 10 per cent of their company. Kevin O’Leary saw the potential of their creation, and offered them the money they were seeking for $50,000, 10% equity, and royalties of 3%.
Their company soared after receiving the investment, and O’Leary has since dropped the royalties. They have since increased their line to include eyewear and beauty products, and are stocked in Lowe’s and Home Depot stores across Canada.
Founders of the iconic Canadian candy line Clodhoppers appeared on Dragons’ Den in season 6, pitching their new company OMG’s. OMG’s produces a line of chocolate and nut graham crackers, and Chris Emery and Larry Finnson were seeking $250,000 for 30% of their business. Arlene Dickinson was impressed by their Clodhoppers candy line, and offered the pair $250,000 for 50% of OMG’s.
OMG’s now has more than 15 full-time employees and are stocked in thousands of stores across Canada, with the company turning over more than a million dollars each year.
Even more food has made this list of most successful pitches on Dragons’ Den Canada, and this time it’s caffeinated chocolate. In season 7, Matt Schnarr, Dan Tzotzis, Stanley Hainsworth, and Adam Deremo, pitched their Toronto-based business AWAKE Chocolate. They were looking for an investment of $200,000 for 20% equity in AWAKE Chocolate, and closed a deal with David Chilton for the full amount.
In 2012, a year prior to getting a deal on Dragons’ Den, AWAKE Chocolate turned over $500,000 – which has massively increased to $8 million each year. The candy bars are now stocked in more than 20,000 retailers across Canada and the US, and their popularity doesn’t look like it’ll die down anytime soon.
The Urban Cultivator allows gardening enthusiasts with little space to grow their own herbs, flowers, and vegetables, indoors. Tarren Wolfe, David MacGregor, and Myles Omand set up their hydroponics business in 2010, and appeared on the sixth season of Dragons’ Den. The trio were looking for an investment of $400,000 for 10 per cent equity, and received this amount from Arlene Dickinson – but for 20% of the company.
Thanks to Dickinson’s cash and experience, Urban Cultivator employs more than 20 people and its products are now sold across North America, Europe, and Australia.
Naor Cohen appeared on Dragons’ Den in the eighth season, wowing the Dragons with his seaweed caviar business. Cohen sought $100,000 for 20% equity in his vegan food, and received an investment from David Chilton. By 2014, Kelp Caviar made more than $2 million in revenue, and is now available in more than 19 countries around the world – including Canada, US, Europe and the UAE.
Cohen has since branched out into the production of ultra-premium sturgeon caviar, and has even been able to buy out Chilton.
Another food item on this list is the successful business started by husband and wife team Brian and Corin Mullins. The Mullins’ pitched their gluten-free, organic and vegan cereal company in the fifth season and sought an investment of $120,000 for 20% equity. They created Holy Crap to help with Brian’s gluten intolerance, and they named their company after one of their first customer’s reviews; “Holy Crap… this is amazing!”
Holy Crap appeared in the Den twice, first in 2010 and for a second time in 2016. After their first appearance, the product soared – by 2014 Holy Crap was turning over more than $20 million in the US and Canada.
The seventh season of Dragons’ Den resulted in an extremely successful investment for Jim Treliving and David Chilton. Tonia and Hatem Jahshan pitched their premium loose tea direct sales business, similar to Tupperware and Avon, as they were struggling to make a profit. Their tea ‘parteas’ were going well in their hometown of Cambridge, Ontario, but they dreamed of scaling things up.
They sought an investment of $250,000 for 20% equity, and received investments of $125,000 from both Jim Treliving and David Chilton for 10% each. Thanks to their investment, the company has skyrocketed – last year they had more than 9,000 consultants in Canada and the US, turning over more than $20 million.