Dragon's Den, more like mouse's hole

I was really looking forward to Dragon’s Den this year with the addition of Sean O Sullivan of Avego and had great hopes that we were going to see some innovation and more technical products.
I have just sat through episode two and its more of the same with zero innovation, in fact the most interesting product was a cattle gate which I was thrilled to see funded.
Other than that what we are looking at is basically The Late Late Show of many years ago.
In the first two episodes we have had products that are available elsewhere by other manufacturers, “exclusive distributors” and a guy who claim to fame was that “he invented Google Streetview” an incredulous claim that even threw the very unflappable Sean.
If this is what we have to look forward to for the rest of the season I think it will go the way of “The Bill” show very quickly.
As a big fan of the UK version I really hang my head in shame watching this.
Am I being too harsh here? are these the most innovative companies looking for funding in Ireland?

7 thoughts on “Dragon's Den, more like mouse's hole

  1. Billy

    I pitched in front of the Dragons this series. There is a lot more work put in from both entrepreneurs & production team than meets the eye! It is extremely nerve racking for even the most confident individual. When I applied for the show, their email inbox was over quota, they had taken thousands of applications. I had to use snail mail. So, if you think it’s that easy, get yourself in front of them next series and let the nation see how well you keep your nerve in the Den 😉

  2. James Kennedy

    We all know the show is entertainment. I don’t really blame the production company for not finding “better” candidates. Every new business in Ireland knows about the show, so there can’t be a shortage of awareness. They are just deciding not to apply. And who would blame them? Many businesses can’t benefit from the increased profile, the offers of investment are normally on awful terms and those that do appear on the show run the risk of being pilloried.

    I appeared on the show myself a couple of years ago, and I can honestly say that it was the most nerve racking thing I have ever done. To those that want to see better quality businesses – go on, show us how it is done and apply :)

    On a side note. I’ve been living in Santiago for the last year or so as part of startupchile.org. They are spending 40 million USD on finding “good” ideas to bring down. It appears to be a lot harder than anyone thinks.

  3. Bren

    I think the problem is it’s falling between several stools, because there just isn’t the volume that the UK (or indeed US) might enjoy as a result of their population base.
    The producers are trying to create drama or at the very least entertain viewers. Therefore, I reckon they must look for a certain “type” to get on the show. People with strong characters, etc. In some cases, we see products that fit the “So simple, but no one ever thought of it – except JML!” (as you pointed out, often similar products are out there).
    As for the entrepreneurs – I wouldn’t blame any of them for going onto Dragon’s Den, as they obviously believe in their business and primetime on the national broadcaster is a pretty good PR opportunity for them. However, I think after last year (when there was very little investment), I don’t know how many people now go onto the show looking solely for investment. I say this because so few seem to know the money aspect of their own business. A cursory watch of a previous DD episode (or even the Apprentice for that matter!) would tell anyone that they will be grilled about the money, so they need to have that down.
    The Dragons, I’d imagine, enjoy the celebrity, and opportunity to see some of these new ideas/innovations – but as you say, there does seem to be little innovation or true invention presented.
    I always wonder whether the person who didn’t get on the show was a dull accountant with a patent for some kind of web-based easy-tax calculator (on a web page or as a plugin for b2b sites), which might be a really good investment, but is considered too dull to put on air.

  4. Jackie D

    “Mouse’s hole”…I’m lol here and you know why! Brings back memories. Seriously trying not to embarrass myself by laughing so hard in this waiting room. Cheers, mate. :)

  5. Robin Blandford

    I used to think it would be a BIG deal to get on the show. Now I feel most people with any idea could walk on, and even at that, with little nerves when pitching as they aren’t knowledgable on topics other than their own and just make outrageously wrong statements.

    Sean is a different league to the rest of the guys. The other guys are much like the ideas that get on… unremarkable.

  6. Paul

    I’ve watched the first two episodes, and the applicants do seem to be mediocre at best. I don’t know if DD is people’s last ditch attempt to get funded, or are people just using it as PR. Either way I think the producers should be a bit more selective in the companies that are shown. Maybe they need to proactively go out and find companies, rather than just waiting for people to apply. I don’t think companies get coached on how to pitch, but maybe it’s something that could be done. The Irish Dragons Den doesn’t necessarily have to have the same setup as the original (I hope).

    And one further tip for those people who are going to have their website featured on DD, please make sure your website will stand the test of having a few hundred concurrent visitors !

  7. DC Cahalane

    Couldn’t agree with you more. Its been absolutely shocking this year so far, really seems like they’re scrapping the end of the barrel.

    I wonder is it that decent companies just aren’t applying or is there an editorial reason why it only seems to be clueless and unimaginative businesses that get aired?


    btw. If you havent been watching it I’d strongly recommend the US version “Shark Tank”


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