Making Friends with The Dragon’s Den

And come away smiling…with kudos from the King of The Dragons, himself…

Eight days notice! That’s all the warning I got from The Dragons’ Den that I had been chosen to pitch The Dragon’s at the CBC studios in Toronto, Ontario.

Boy, do they like to keep you on your toes!

Now given that I had to be at the CBC studio in Toronto at 6:45am EDT the first thing I did in preparation was to get up 3 hours earlier – being fresh as a flower at 3:45am Vancouver time – takes some work! 

To ensure at that early hour in the morning that I would be my usual sharp self, I prepared the day before by getting up the same hour and checking out the CBC studio which was only a few blocks down the street. 

I wasn’t feeling nervous about pitching our sustainable asset Fund, but I started to feel if I should change my mind about what to wear:  

Did I want 2.5 million Canadian TV veiwers to see me in my my more serious, dark grey suit – or waving the flag of the Fund’s bright green colors…? 

Everybody I passed on the streets in Toronto’s business district wore dark, somber suits.. and it really got me thinking…

I woke up bright and early (2am PST!)  feeling very determined to show the sustainable, ‘green asset’ fund in it’s true colors  – so the bright green suit it was – after all, I was going on National TV as The Efund’s ambassador!

The fantastic folks at the CBC got me to the right place – a huge, cavernous warehouse studio on the tenth flour.  After microphone and make up fixes etc. I was ready to go on set…”

Right from the start three dragons seemed pretty supportive, but two seemed to have decided that they were there to heckle. Makes for good TV, I guess!”

Being that all of us are in the business of managing capital, there were a lot of areas of interest to explore .. and then we all got completely off track …

How does one explain commercial paper and depreciating cash flows when there are 5 Dragons all trying to give their own opinion about the state of the economy and investment considerations ….all at the same time ! 

There was ‘nary  a chance for any of us to finish our sentences  (and the hot lights weren’t helping me much)..

….but then a miracle happened…

Some days you just feel ready to have fun, and this was one of them. So after ten minutes I decided to say what I had come all the way to Toronto from Vancouver, to say.

Regardless of the interruptions I was here to smile and pitch, smile and pitch….

According to the producer afterwards I passed the distraction test and came back swinging – and that makes for good television!
Nice when your instincts lead you in the right direction!

The highlight for me was winning a great endorsement from Kevin O’Leary, who set up a meeting for me later that day with his CEO, Connor O’Brien at their Bay Street address. 

Not only does he and Connor head up the O’Leary Fund [], he’s also got the reputation of being the toughest dragon – so that felt like a big win.

And of course, it will be great exposure for our great, green asset fund once it airs.

The episode will air sometime next season (Sept. ’10-March ’11) – I get four days notice before it shows (if it does!)  and I’ll post it here as soon as I know.

Wishing you prosperous opportunities, today!