Ep 2 Review: You win some, you lose some

01 October 2014
We revisit the five pitchers who faced the Dragons.
Ep 2 Review: You win some, you lose some Image : 68
With a strong range of products and a variety of offers, the second episode of Dragons’ Den SA cranked up the pressure. What followed was a learning curve for entrepreneurs and viewers alike (with a few laughs thrown in for good measure).

Rolling in first with Mzansi Mobile Units was Ntokozo Biyela . Manufacturing trailers which serve as mobile fridges, freezers, bars and butcheries, Ntokozo asked for R1 million in exchange for 15% equity. The answers to the Dragons initial questions left them looking confused and saw Vinny bowing out early. But the Dragons came around after receiving clarity, and Polo was on the verge of making an offer before Gil jumped in. Stating he was only happy to make an offer in partnership with another Dragon, the final offer came down to R1 million for 60% equity between Polo and Gil. Unhappy to part with over half his business, Ntokozo turned it down.

Coming onto the floor next was Michael Grunyuza, displaying what looked like the contents of a kitchen bin, the highlight being the “Smart Jug”. The product, effectively a measuring jug, indicates the perfect concentrate to water ratio. With Polo rightly remarking “It looks very similar to what is available in the market,” his pitch for R500 000 in exchange for 25% equity was unanimously turned down.

Sol George, presenting Eco Taps and asking for R1.5million in exchange for 20% equity, didn’t remain on the floor for long. He took his emphatic sales pitch about “The smallest geyser in the world” too far, prompting Gil’s request to “Chill out… Stop selling me so hard.” Eco Taps sounded impressive enough, but the Dragons were uncomfortable that the patent didn’t belong to Sol and he was duly shot down in flames.

The Dragons placed emphasis on highlighting the uniqueness and value of a product, and Justin and Shane rose to the task. With the help of a chemical engineer, the pair developed a whiteboard paint called Moxi Wall that “creates an erasable canvas”. Asking for R300 000 in exchange for 20% equity, the potential of Moxi Wall made the Dragons sit up. What followed was an exciting reversal, with the Dragons thrashing out offers. Thinking them over, Justin and Shane made things more interesting with a counter-offer. It eventually came down to an agreement from the pair as long as they made themselves available by quitting their day jobs, and relinquishing 60% equity, which is to be shared between Vinny, Vusi and Gil – in exchange for R450 000.

The heartfelt Bonani Mashila was last in, pitching for the purchase of a R600 000 LED-screen to get his outdoor-advertising company, Reyakopele Dynasty Media off the ground. In exchange for 10% equity, he was just looking for enough money to purchase one screen. The focus on advertising placed it firmly in Lebo’s camp, and he was willing to go ahead in exchange for 25% of the business provided. Vusi came into the deal for another 25% proclaiming “all of the flags are red,” the offer fell through. As compensation, Lebo offered Bonani a job and mentorship, giving him an opportunity to grow in the industry.

Between the Dragons and the pitches the episode offered valuable insight into the wheeling and dealings of the business world. It takes more than just a great product to succeed, and the Dragons reminded us of all the additional integral factors entrepreneurs need if they hope to succeed.

Watch Dragons' Den South Africa on Mzansi Magic every Tuesday at 19:00. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and be part of the Dragons' Den SA conversation.