It was such an honor!
It all started on a whim.We were traveling for customer meetings in Toronto and heard that there was an audition for Dragons' Den only 30 minutes outside the city. We had a machine with us, so we thought "Why not?" We wound up at a ski resort went inside and found that it was not going to be an easy task to get our machine down three stories to the conference area where auditions were taking place. We haggled with one of the bus boys to let us take the kitchen service elevator for a free bottle of vape. We get to where we needed to be. We started our audition pitch for a panel of delightful ladies who are producers for the show. In our humble opinion, these women were far tougher than the dragons. They picked us apart with questions, gave us instructions for what would happen if we were selected. A month went by, then another. We chalked it up to a good experience and forgot about it.
Then the email came. We had been selected. We were elated! After a few months of back and forth with producers on the logistics of getting our machine up yet another elevator, (this time 18 stories), we found ourselves on a soundstage. We unpacked the machine, loaded it with flavors and got everything ready for our moment. Then we waited... and waited... and waited some more. The sound man came over and said: “we are ready to mic you.” That’s when it hits you: Your about to get filmed to be put on national television pitching your product in front of some of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs, and you start to question your life decisions a little.
Afer we were mic’ed, we proceeded into a closed set: The Dragon’s Den. We were led up a flight of stairs, and a producer with far too many headsets on said “Okay they’re counting us in 5,4,3,2… Wait! Sorry! They’re resetting something; it’s going to be a couple of minutes”. What a horrible feeling! Those few minutes felt like days. Then finally the count again “5,4,3,2,1… Set is hot.” We walked across the catwalk and what you see is what happened aside from a few other things that didn’t make the episode, but we’ll save those for another day.
It was one of the hardest things we've ever done.You have to have the guts to say NO to the wrong opportunity so you can say YES to the right opportunity. It was not that we did not want Manjit Minhas as a partner. In fact, she would have been a phenomenal addition to the team. It was that the numbers just didn’t work. We know that 10 million dollars seems like a ton of cash (because it is) and 7% seems like such a small amount to give up (it is not). What didn’t get put on air was that our parent company RED has several other brands use the technology to create custom products. We were pitching RED and when you consider the cannabis, cosmetics, essential oil and other liquid co-creation our technology is capable of it just didn’t make sense to give up an additional 7%. We are also an employee-owned company, and that extra 7% would have come out of our current and future employee stock options. We are not sorry for making the decision we did. We have no regrets. We charted a course, and we are staying that course until there is a good reason to move off of it. We were so humbled to receive an offer that large and are so greatful to everyone at the CBC and the Dragon’s Den cast and crew for making the experience an incredible one.