News

Dragon sizzle fizzles

Auditions for CBC entrepreneur show set for Thursday

This time last year, WannaWafel owner Renaat Marchand was among the throngs of dreamers auditioning in Victoria for the CBC show Dragons’ Den.

Thursday, dozens of inventors and entrepreneurs will follow in his footsteps to audition in downtown Victoria for a chance to appear before the show’s five wealthy business tycoons.

But months after making his deal, Marchand never received the money or a contract.

In December, he finally walked away from Boston Pizza owner Jim Treliving’s offer of $100,000 for 50 per cent ownership of Marchand’s business.

“Things weren’t moving fast enough,” said the owner of WannaWafel in Market Square.

Marchand has moved on, capitalizing on publicity from the show and preparing to franchise WannaWafel this spring.

“The hype would only last so long,” said Marchand’s son Arnot, who also appeared on the show.

But the process of due diligence is lengthy for a reason, says a Dragons’ Den producer.

“It can take a long time and maybe that’s surprising to some people, but (the dragons have) got a lot to check out before they can hand over the money,” said Michelle MacMillan.

“It’s such a big risk,” she said.

MacMillan is conducting the next round of Victoria auditions for the show tomorrow at the Inn at Laurel Point Hotel.

In a similar case, Jeff Widderich pitched his Sudoku-like puzzle, Str8ts, in a November episode. He received a $150,000 investment promise from three dragons, in return for 10 per cent of royalties.

“The paperwork was astronomical,” the Gordon Head resident said of the process involved. “We were never getting past first base. At one point it was getting ridiculous.”

A few months ago he decided to accept two investment offers that came in after his television appearance.

However, both entrepreneurs say there is still a silver lining to the experience.

Widderich says he’s in regular e-mail contact with dragon W. Brett Wilson. And Marchand’s appearance on Dragons’ Den will be included in a commercial on Cineplex movie screens this March.

“Some people see a little rock on the street as a hurdle,” said Marchand. “I’m incredibly happy.”

The Dragons’ Den audition runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Inn at Laurel Point, 680 Montreal St.

emccracken@vicnews.com

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Hunters protest shift favouring non-residents
 
B.C.-only wines to come to some grocery stores
 
Virk shuffled to new job after Kwantlen flap
Site C dam construction to start next summer
 
Lava slows but still on track to hit Hawaii market
 
Lack of addiction treatment flagged by crime panel
5 free things in Vancouver, from parks to Gastown
 
Having fun at Hilton Centre
 
Community comes through for Kiwanis Hilton Centre

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.