The Dragons Den

Dragons’ Den is a series of reality television programmes featuring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists. The show originated in Japan as “マネーの虎” (Tiger of Money, a pun on “Tiger of Malaya”, the nickname of a famous WWII general, Tomoyuki Yamashita). The format is owned by Sony Pictures Television International. According to Wikipedia.


The contestants are usually product designers or service operators who have what they consider to be a viable and potentially very profitable business idea, but who lack funding and direction. They pitch their idea to five rich entrepreneurial businesspeople, the eponymous “dragons” (or “tigers” in the original Japanese show, “sharks” in the U.S. and Israeli versions and “lions” in Finland and Romania). Before the show, the contestants have named a specific amount of money that they wish to get (along with a percentage in the business that the contestant is offering to sell to the investors), and the rules stipulate that if they do not raise at least this amount from the dragons, they get nothing. In return, the contestant gives the dragons a percentage of the company’s stock, which is the chief point of negotiation. The program does not show the entire pitch as scenes are selected and edited from the episode due to time constraints.
The dragons probe the idea further once the contestant has made the presentation. This will either reveal a sound business proposition that the investor may become interested in investing capital in return for equity, or an embarrassing lack of preparation on the part of the contestant (such as the contestant’s lack of knowledge of the business’ profits or margins), the uncovering of troubling facts (such as insufficient sales or manufacturing margins) or other reasons which may play a factor in the investors consequently rejecting the investment (such as the investor asking for a larger equity stake in the business than the contestant wants to give up, the contestant’s valuation on the business being too high compared to its overall profits or the investor’s belief that they cannot add value to the business). A contestant may give a counteroffer to the investors, if they feel their offer is not sufficient compared to the contestant’s initial offer, which may also be subject to rejection if the investor feels the contestant asking for too high a monetary amount and/or an insufficiently low equity than the investor’s previous offer.

The programme has been very successful in the UK and we love it.
According to Wikipedia, it’s been adapted in many countries around the world, including: Afghanistan, The Arab world, Australia, Canada – English version, Canada – Québec version in French, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

Whilst the UK version deals in deals of tens of thousands of pounds, the Canadian programme has contestants negotiating for hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars.