Another Dragons’ Den Deal Dies in Due Diligence

We’ve been telling you for awhile that CBC Dragon’s Den deals aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Just because a Dragon or two agrees to give entrepreneurs X number of dollars for a Y stake in the company, it doesn’t mean anything will actually happen after the cameras stop rolling.

Even in the U.K., critics insist that the show is pure entertainment and not a wise way to seek funds (but is, on a side note, a wise way to seek free publicity). “Due diligence” is always the excuse when a deal goes sideways and this past week another Canadian startup sidestepped the Dragons.

Hongwei Liu and Desmond Choi stepped into the CBC Dragons’ Den months ago to pitch their indoor-wayfinding company. This past week the episode was aired with the spotlight on Kitchener’s MappedIn.

Communitech’s blog has the full story but here’s what happened on TV. All five Dragons tripped over each other for a chance to invest in MappedIn, leading Liu and his cofounders to make deals with three of them.

The reality: “Off the air, after due diligence, we decided that the deal was not for us,” MappedIn co-founder Liu told Communitech. Instead, MappedIn chose to partner with Esri Canada, an established leader in mapping software. Communitech’s Anthony Reinhart wraps it up best:

That might not be the made-for-TV ending viewers of last night’s episode expected, but it’s the kind of reality startups like MappedIn typically face early on in their existence, when nothing is certain and plenty can go wrong if you rush into relationships with the wrong partners.