Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Curling in the Dragons’ Den

Beware the Dragons... they have lots of money and are ready to invest in your business idea, but you might get your hand bitten off while asking for the cash.

Dragons’ Den, the successful “Angel Investors” TV show, now in its third year on CBC in Canada (there is also a UK edition) showcases lightning-quick investment pitches made on-the-spot to a panel of major high rollers. These guys – and one gal – are looking to shell out their own shekels to fund the Next Big Thing, and they often do just that.

For example, last night’s show closed with two gals pitching a street-smart acrobatic show – a small-scale version of Cirque du Soleil – and after getting thoroughly stomped on by four of the five Dragons, the final one ponied up a quarter of a million dollars. Just like that.

Still with last night, quiet and humble Joe Dumouchelle from Windsor, Ontario (image above) also made it into the Den... but came away with nothing. The Dragons weren’t too fond of his invention: a curling rock with wheels, suitable for play on non-ice surfaces.

Joe also showed off a small mockup of a transportable wooden indoor curling sheet... which ships in two massive pieces, totalling 24 feet in length. The Dragons had a howl over that one, with designated Dragon badboy Kevin O’Leary imagining the sight of “a 24-wheeler show(ing) up at your house; ‘Honey! Your curling rink is here!’”

Sadly, the magic of TV editing did not tell us precisely what the Dragons thought of Joe’s main idea: the rocks themselves. Nor did Joe or the Dragons indicate any knowledge of existing dryland rocks – if so, we assume Joe would have been asked about owning a patent.

How about this, folks... whether or not you’ve ever seen the show, or this particular episode, how about helping out poor Joe? The show website features an Armchair Dragon Contest where the public can vote on its favourite unsuccessful “pitch” of the season. If Joe wins this week’s voting, he is in the running for an eventual $75,000 prize and you, dear reader, could receive $10,000 and a trip to Toronto – just for voting.

All you have to do is register – its free – with the CBC website, which can done through the contest page located here. You can also view a :30-second video promo for the contest, located here.

This week’s contest is open until Monday, Oct. 13 at 4:59 ET.

Good luck Joe... and to all curling voters, too!

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