The day has finally come for us to announce our appearance on Dragons' Den. After months of waiting for a reply from Dragons' Den we can finally announce that MAKEACHAMP will be on the thirteenth web pitch of Dragons Den Season 8!
UPDATE: You can watch the episode by clicking here.
Here is our journey getting there:
Avid Dragons Den Fans
We had a funky satellite, held together by judo tape that captured 6 high definition satellite channels. One of those channels happened to be CBC. The rare moments we would have a chance to watch T.V, we would catch Dragons Den. Every single person watching that show cant help but imagine themselves pitching to the Dragons. But never have I thought that it would actually happen.
Auditions are in Montreal!
We discovered that auditions are taking place in Montreal at the John Molson School of Business so we decided to sign up and give it a try. It was weird being asked, How much is your company worth. My initial reaction is to say that MAKEACHAMP is priceless. Putting a price on your baby (MAKEACHAMP) means it could be bought. As bad as it felt putting a price on MAKEACHAMP it's something we had to do in order to fulfill the mission of helping as many athletes as possible. We took the leap and entered the auditions.
We got accepted
Two months after the auditions, I was at the McGill library when my phone started to ring and the caller ID showed "CBC - Dragons Den". Some students looked up because I think I was gasping for air. I stood up and ran into the corridor to get the announcement that we were selected to present in front of the Dragons Den in Toronto.
Preparing the pitch
We had to show to the Dragons who we are, our story - athletes helping other athletes. So we designed the presentation to show exactly that! Our presentation involved three competitive judo athletes:
1. Michael Shpigelman, co-founder of MAKEACHAMP and current COO. He is a 23 year-old black belt fighting in the under 90 kg (200 lbs.) category.
2. David Ancor, co-founder of MAKEACHAMP and current CMO. I am a 22 year-old second-degree black belt fighting in the under 73 kg (160 lbs.) category.
3. Daniel Chosack Barkay, a 12 year-old blue belt fighting in the under 46 kg (100 lbs.) category. At the time of the presentation Daniel was running a campaign on MAKEACHAMP to help him get the funds he needs to compete internationally.
We had the athletes, now we just needed the mats.
The issue was that we couldnt fit judo mats into the car on the way down to Toronto from Montreal. So the night before our presentation we were able to borrow some judo mats from a tournament in Toronto. Now that we had our mats and our athletes, we needed a final practice run. So we put the mats down in the hotel corridor and practice our presentation. If anyone wouldve walk by, they definitely would have thought we were crazy.
The Pitch - Daniel versus Michael
The plan was for myself to start explaining that athletes have to fight an unfair battle: they have to train full time and at the same time find a way to get funding and support themselves financially.
Symbolizing this unfair battle Michael Shpigelman would start doing judo with Daniel, a much younger and smaller athlete.
BOOM! Of course, Daniel would lose the fight, to the much bigger Michael! Just as many athletes end up quitting due to inadequate funding. Next, the plan was that I would come in and lift Daniel up and explain that with the help of MAKEACHAMP, athletes can now focus on training and competing and get the funds they need. Symbolizing the support that MAKEACHAMP gives to its athletes, Daniel would get up and throw Michael.
Watch us at the Dragons Den
So that was the plan, whether it went according to the plan, I cant say. What was the Dragons reaction, I cant say. And although Daniel ended up going home with an ice bag on his toes, he was happy to have met the Dragons, and so were we! To watch how this plays out, click here.