10 Montreal Companies Who Made It On Dragon's Den
There's more to creating successful business than just a good idea. Sure, that's a huge part of it, but you also need business savvy, contacts, and the drive to make your business profitable.
Dragon's Den, the popular CBC show that gives small-time businesses the chance to make it big with some of Canada's most successful entrepreneurs, has seen its fair share of truly innovative ideas and complete duds.
And a fair share of both have been from business hailing from the City of Montreal. While some Montrealers have found incredible investment opportunities through teaming up with one of the Dragons, others haven't had such luck, and have walked away with nothing.
We complied a list of ten below, check 'em out and see how you think they rep'd the city to the Dragons.
Creating what's essentially a USB stick that removes any and all viruses from a computer, Montrealers Marty Algire & Corey Velan did what few can do with their FixMeStick product: getting an offer from all of the Dragons, which created a bit of entertaining drama.
The duo did have to make a choice, however, and eventually went with an offer that came from not one, but two Dragons who decided to team up.
And it seem like Algire and Velan made the right choice, as FixMeStick is seemingly still going strong and has received stellar reviews from a variety of tech magazines and publications.
Hailing from Lachine, Claudette Leduc approached the Dragons back in 2012 with her product Dr Mist, an all-natural body deodorant that lacks the harmful ingredients found in similar products.
Created from Dead Sea minerals and salt, Dr. Mist is able to keep you smell-free for up to three days without showering, apparently. Quite a stretch of time and it won't cause any damage to your skin.
Dragon Brett Wilson was pretty impressed with the product, offering Leduc $100,000 with a 5% royalty on all sales, which she accepted.
Dr. Mist has since become the nation's best selling natural deodorant, and is distributed in major stores like Costco and Superstore. The product has even breached the border, and is sold in the US, with hordes of consumers clamouring for a natural alternative to deodorants and antiperspirants.
Often times the most enjoyable aspect of watching Dragon's Den is to see all the bumbling "entrepreneurs" who don't have a clue what the hell they're doing. Montrealer Sandro D'Ambrosio was that exactly.
Approaching the Dragons with a technology that will fuel cars through pedalling, going as far as saying it would end "palution" (he must have had an MTLBlog editor look over his pitch), D'Ambrosio's product fell flat. Mainly because there was no product to be seen, as he didn't even have a working prototype.
But even after getting verbally ripped apart by the Dragons, D'Ambrosio felt he needed a second chance, and came back on the show to re-pitch his idea. On the second time around, he did bring an actual prototype, but that didn't make things go any better.
Every part of 1642 Cola is an ode to Montreal and Quebec. Even the recipe plays on the province's heritage, with one of the not-so-secret ingredients being maple syrup straight from the Laurentians.
And by mixing hometown pride with a quality beverage, Bastien Poulain was able to win over three Dragons on the French counterpart-program, Dans l'oeil du Dragon.
With the Montreal-cola sold in stores all across Montreal, Poulain's enterprise grown and expanded its product lineup, now crafting a speciality "1642 Tonic."
You can watch the original pitch here.
Okay, so technically Téo Taxi didn't appear on Dragon's Den nor Dans l'oeil du Dragon, so why is it on this list? Well, because the taxi-project was developed from an actual dragon, Alexandre Taillefer.
Already on the streets of Montreal, Téo Taxi is almost like a green alternative to Uber, with similarities including the use of an app to connect to users and drivers not needing special permits. The key difference is that Téo Taxi solely uses electrically powered cars.
Montreal Public Relations student Erby Joseph entered the Dragon's Den with "Parfum Joseph," a day-to-night line of perfume centered on the notion of female empowerment, as Joseph put it.
Using a little bit of stage magic in his pitch, Joseph started strong, but fell a little flat once the Dragons realized he didn't have next to any market research completed nor knew much of anything about the fragrance industry.
So despite his enthusiasm, and constantly saying how much he loves women, Parfum Joseph didn't get any Dragons on board.
Three friends from Montreal, Benjamin Outmezguine, Noah Bernett, and Dino Vassiliou, fused health with junk food in their product "CoolWhey," an ice cream that contains 23 grams of protein per serving.
Already being sold in stores and at gyms, CoolWhey started strong, but unfortunately, the ice cream didn't taste all that amazing to the Dragons.
Still, the CoolWhey guys got two different offers, and even went as far as countering Jim Treliving's proposed deal. Their gamble didn't pay off, however, as Jim rejected the counter-offer, leaving the CoolWhey guys walking out with nothing.
Club Enfants & Fiesta
Adding a little bit of luxury and flair to birthday parties for kids, Alejandra and Karla Albrecht, two sisters from Montreal, hoped to expand their party-planning business Club Enfants & Fiesta with an investment from the Dragons.
Asking 95k for a 20% cut for the business, the sisterly duo wowed the dragons with their enthusiasm and energy, but couldn't score a solid investment, with the Dragons questioning their business model's scaleability.
That hasn't stopped the Albrecht sisters from continuing the party, as they still run Club Enfants & Fiesta right here in Montreal.
The team behind Temple Lifestyle (Sabrina Silvestri, Christopher Magnone, and Mark Cigos) headed into the den quite confident with their premiere product, Thirsty Buddha coconut water, which you may have seen sold in stores.
Asking 350K for 10% equity, the three instantly impressed the Dragons with their tasty product, but things got a little tense when the oversaturation of products in the health food market was brought up.
Still, Temple Lifestyle received offers from multiple dragons, even getting pitched a distribution deal from Arlene and Jim. The three tried to go big and countered with an offer that would involve four different dragons in one deal. Unfortunately, the Dragons didn't like the setup, and the folks behind Thirsty Buddha left empty handed.
Seaweed is so hot right now, and Montrealer Naor Cohen proved that a fact when he pitched his line of "Kelp Caviar" to the Dragons.
A seaweed-based caviar substitute, the product tastes just like the ritzy dish, but is entirely fitting for a vegetarian/vegan diet.
Four Dragons were wowed enough to make an offer to Cohen, who eventually took a combo-deal from Dave and Arlene. Soon after the taping, Arlene actually dropped out of the deal, but Dave stayed in, and with his investment Kelp Caviar has been raking in millions in sales.
Wafu is pretty popular here in Montreal and Quebec at-large, and so I was mildly surprised to see the heads of the company, Gil Michel-Garcia and Mari Toyoda, on Dragon's Den, seeking investment in order to break into the US market.
With a solid product and proven sales, Michel-Garcia and Toyoda managed to get several offers from the Dragons, with Arlene and David later joining forces in an offer that would give them more of a cut from the product's overall sales.
Michel-Garcia respectfully declined, unhappy with the change in control the deal would create.