EP 5 Review: Fix it, plug it, flick it

22 October 2014
Episode 5 was a fishy affair.
EP 5 Review: Fix it, plug it, flick it Image : 101

We only had one successful candidate last night and that was Thembinkosi Phillips of Moedi Parys Consulting Engineers, the only pitcher who came prepared. The engineer threw back financial trajectories that made sense and gave an insightful and concise explanation of his vision and solution. The result? A very interested Polo who agreed to his ask of R2 million for 40% on the proviso he paid back the amount in full within three years. Quite a commitment from Thembinkosi but he agreed to the terms and conditions. “I’m going to make you an offer,” said Polo. “I don’t want to take more than you are offering, I think it’s more than fair. I need to have this money back within the next three years, because I want to be out in year five. Are you happy with that arrangement?” Of course, Thembinkosi was and the deal was sealed with a round of applause from the remaining four Dragons.

A demure Tresha Chaza was up next with her R1 million for 40% of her passion project, charcoal production using gum trees in an urge to supply eco friendly energy. Although Tresha was eloquent and thorough in her pitch, the Dragons conceded there was little to invest in and her project was too underdeveloped for investment. “On behalf of all the Dragons,” said Lebo, “you presented very well and you were very articulate, you were very clear. The problem was that you just didn’t have enough information to substantiate your business case. I’m out.” And with that Trisha left with nothing.

Herbert Nderezina and Mr. Ajay Bissessur presented their solution to the current energy crisis with an ask of R600 000 for 20% of their power grid concept. This was a concept full of complexities and challenges, the Dragons recommended they partner with an electricity provider. Then there were the baffling financial figures. “You said realistic and you said estimate at the same time,” said Gil. “Which one is it? Realistic or estimate?” The pair continued, “Let’s come to a compromise.” Gil shot back, “No! Let’s get to the truth. What is it? Realistic or estimate?” The pair conceded it was an estimate and with that Gil and the rest of the Dragons were out.

Flick it, is an integrated remote that’s wired to your car headlights and can accommodate nine different frequencies of remote control. With a flick of your lights you can open a garage door or any other device that requires a remote and is the brainchild of pawn shop-owning Bradford Braithwate. The ask was 20% for R200 000 and the pitch had a comprehensive demonstration of the invention. However there was one fatal flaw, when asked how much time he would devote, he said it would be limited because he would “get bored”. Massive mistake, all five Dragons were uninspired.

Sibusiso Ngema wanted R2.5 million for Sbunge Automation's water treatment plant and wanted R2.5 million for a 20% stake. Problem here, he failed badly at articulating what service he offered and the Dragons were none the wiser at the end of it, in fact they were more confused, especially since it was only an idea. “I’m investing in only a concept here?” asked Vusi. “I can’t find a reason to invest here, I’m out.” The rest of the Dragons were close to follow.

Last but not least were father and son double act Casper Kruger Junior and Senior who were offering R1 million for 15% of their fish farm, HBP Fisheries an aquaponics fish farming system and a subsidiary of another holding company. The problem with this pair is that they wanted a cash investor, not a shareholder. They were vocal about their reluctance to part with profit and all the Dragons felt they were going to be managed. “The bottom line is that we are professional investors and you guys are not professional entrepreneurs,” said Vinnie. “You’re a family business and that’s fine… You want the equity, you want the rewards and you want control but don’t then come asking for professional money if that’s the case. For that reason, I’m out.”

And that concluded proceedings for episode 5 and what did we learn this week? Do not come unprepared, be realistic and be articulate at the very least when presenting to investors. To learn so much whilst being this entertained? It’s a win-win.

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