EP 8 Review: Something old, something new and a R5 million deal

13 November 2014
A record deal on Dragons' Den SA
EP 8 Review: Something old, something new and a R5 million deal Image : 129

Tuesday night’s viewing was a rollercoaster ride; we saw the most unprepared pitcher in the history of the show and we saw the biggest deal being struck to date as Lebo invested in a R5 million deal with Ismael Hassen of Bitu Box! The Bitu Box is a heat regulated transport logistics solution for bitumen. What’s bitumen you ask? It’s a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation and is used for road surfacing… we didn’t know either before we watched the show!

First up was Simon Curtis of Quagga Books. Simon was offering R200 000 for 20% equity of his digital antique valuation and insurance solution. There is a growing trend worldwide for antiques and Gil being a very shrewd businessman knows this, “I know that there is actually a big subculture in South Africa for antiques. I’m boggled by how many people are into it and there is a market there. I’m keen to take a punt on you.” And Gil did, with Vinny who would be nurturing the online demands of the business. Simon left the den with two Dragons both in with a 15% stake, 30% in total and R200 000 for his online antiques portal.

A party is not a party without a piñata, well according to Lola Cronje who asked R1.126 million for 20% of her piñata making company which is the biggest producer of piñatas in South Africa. The great thing about Lola’s company is that she employs disabled women to assemble the piñatas, which creates employment opportunity for women who otherwise would not have had the chance of a monthly income. Although everyone enjoyed her pitch, Polo the most as she smashed a piñata to pieces (much to the astonishment of the Dragons; who knew she had it in her?), it was Polo who found the fatal flaw in Lola’s pitch; it’s not compliantly legal to invest in a cooperative, you can proffer a loan, but you can’t come in as an investor. There cant be shareholders in the cooperative who are not members. “We couldn’t invest here even if we wanted to,” said Vinny. Gil summed her presentation up with a lighter note, “Don’t worry, we had a lot of fun!”

Things then took a turn for the unprepared, there always seems to be one pitcher who hasn’t fully interrogated their numbers and Sipho Zulu was this week’s lamb to the slaughter. Sipho was asking for R150 000 for 20% of his vinyl and tattoo concept store, Dope and Delicious Records. This was a store where punters could chill and listen to music and get a tattoo at the same time, all this while having a cup of coffee and a piece of cake. Sipho presented his idea, which resonated with Lebo who’s very much involved in the record industry. But this young gun made the rookie mistake and didn’t research his numbers; enter the Dragons. Polo was nothing short of stunned by his lack of preparation, “I think all the Dragons here are just shocked, we’re just bursting out… we’re trying to be on our best behaviour. I’m asking you to help us to behave. Rather come back when you’ve thought it through.” And that was the end of Sipho’s concept store dream.

Bright Spark, Marlon Green of Marbulutionz presented his mordernised plug and universal wall socket solutions with an ask of R3 million for 10% equity. Marlon’s presentation was slick until it got to Gil asking the all important numbers question and Marlon couldn’t give Gil the answers he wanted, this scared off the other Dragons, “I unfortunately can’t invest in something I don’t have a semblance of numbers for," said Vusi. "I don’t know what volumes we are speaking of; I can’t even get a sense of the risks. For that reason, while I applaud your innovation, I can’t invest in you, I’m out.”

Last in the den was Ismael Hassen of Bitu Box who wanted R5 million for 30% of his Bitu Box business. Bitu Box is a heat regulated transport logistics solution for transported bitumen, a critical component of tar and as we all know, South Africa’s roads are always being repaired. Ismael was cool, calm and collected throughout his presentation, answering all of the Dragons’ questions articulately and with confidence. Lebo was most curious and felt an affinity towards Ismael as both men are from Port Elizabeth. After a thorough interrogation, Lebo made Ismael an offer of R5 million for 50% of Bitu Box. Ismael took a moment to phone his partner and confirm if he wanted to accept Lebo’s offer. And it was a go, with the largest investment on Dragons’ Den to date.

We couldn’t be happier for Lebo and Ismael and wish them the best of luck on their road to success.

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