EP 3 Review: A smorgasbord of businesses

08 October 2014
The episode of hard sells.
EP 3 Review: A smorgasbord of businesses Image : 80

Last night we saw the third episode of Dragons’ Den SA hit Mzansi Magic screens. Try-hards, die-hards and fly-hards entered the Den in hope of taming the Dragons into financial submission. One thing was evident, do not show up unprepared and if you’re going to present a prototype, make sure it wasn’t a speaker taken out of your bedroom stereo the night before.

First to face the fire was Shaun Ledlie with his online aviation certification business, Kershal Aviation. To de-clutter this concept for you, in short, Shaun offers aviation training online with certified license delivery upon completion of the project. Asking R3 million for 15% of the company, not quite small change, Mister Ledlie, even for the Dragons. His confusing and shaky financial history balances and creative trajectories, scared off Polo, Vusi and Lebo who said, “you’re asking too much for the percentage you’ve proposed, I’m out.”, whereas Polo and Vusi were boggled by his numbers. Gil and Vinny were aviation curious and went in with an offer of 25% each for R1.5 million. Shaun however, backed out, he was not up for the challenge of giving 50% of his ‘baby’ away.

Enter pitcher number two, the most amusing hopeful to date. Student, Sinclair Mohlahla presented his Magna Stove prototype to the Dragons and its function was to magnetise pots to a stove to prevent hot contents in the pot from falling out. Let’s be a little clearer here, his Magna Stove was a speaker removed from his bedroom stereo the day before. We’ve got to give it to him for creativity, “I’ve written a plan in a book”, said Siclair earnestly, “an actual plan!” The Dragons, although amused, were not buying the pitch. Although Polo and Vinny said he was onto a good idea, Gil summed it up perfectly; “It’s like the lotto, but this is not your number.”

Fikile Mkhabela pitched her concept, Shana Designs to the Dragons, R250 000 for 15% equity. Essentially high fashion for plus sized woman, Fekhile wanted to enter the market with cutting edge designs that she hoped to stock in major clothes outlets. According to her, there’s value in this market as the more voluptuous woman hasn’t the same variety of choice as other women. Although she radiated confidence, her idea was nowhere developed enough for the Dragons to touch it with investments options. “The fact of the matter is,” commented Vinny, “is that my wife thinks I’m the worst dresser in the world. If I had my way I would wear takkies and blue jeans every day of my life but I am forced to change it because of her; I have no fashion sense. Although I think you’re great and this is a great opportunity, I’m out.”

Amnei Steyn’s bespoke matric jackets were next to be interrogated by the Dragons, with a request of R380 000 for 15% equity. Although they believed it to be a great concept, there was no room for investment, her business didn’t qualify as an investable SME, Dragons advised that she’d be better off as a soul trader. The battle here is because the jackets are produced in China, it makes it difficult for the finished product, although embellished and embroidered in South Africa to be price competitive. “The textile industry is a volumes industry,” said Polo. “Our textile industry in this country has been decimated by China. The role we have to play in the textile industry is very different from what you’re trying to do. For that reason, I’m out,” as were the remaining four Dragons.

Masego Piko’s Hair Affar was next up, Masego’s Port Elizabeth based business specialises in human hair wigs. She wanted R200 000 with an equity share of 10%. Lebo kindly offered himself as a wig model and although she may have secured one customer, (he looked surprisingly pretty with long hair), the Dragons didn’t see the value in investing. It was too niche in its offering and limited by geographical location. She confused Vusi with the request of the investment to be injected to her business’ delivery service, increasing mobility and then went on to mention that she’d use some of the investment for a retail space. “These are not the kind of risk parameters I want to do business with. And for that reason, I’m out.” The rest of the Dragons promptly followed suit.

Last was Jaco de Lange and his Prop Care metered solutions app. It allows you to manage your property from one dedicated portal, be it a plumber, builder, insurance or other. He wanted R300 000 for 30% equity of his company. In short, you can manage every element of your home investment from one portal. Vinny, ever the tech guru, saw value in Jaco’s offering and subsequently offered R300 000 for 35% equity. It was a deal, and Jaco walked away with a deal and invaluable IP from Vinny.

And that’s a wrap for episode 3! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook and be part of the Dragons' Den SA conversation.