Alumnus heads into the Dragon’s Den
With a tap of the shoulder, Patrick Levesque was on.
As the cameras rolled, the Royal Roads University alumnus and his business partner Jamie Beuthin walked into CBC's Dragon's Den with the hopes of propelling their already successful venture into a greater online presence.
"When you walk out there, and what you see on TV... it's exactly what happens," says Levesque, who graduated from the BCom program in 2002. "You see them for the first time and it's just on."
For those brave enough to lay it all out on the table for the Dragons, they have the opportunity to receive money in exchange for a percentage of their company. Levesque can't talk about the pitch or any potential deals until the show airs Sept. 21, but he is excited to talk about the growth of their business's online presence. In 2007, the men founded MASC, a Vancouver-based business specializing in men's skincare products, ranging from shaving needs to moisturizers. Recently, the business has been profiled in the Globe and Mail and customers are on the rise both in the store and online.
The men hope to get funding to grow the online side of MASC, a feature which is already booming on its own accord. Customers can order products online and learn more about them through MASC Minutes. The YouTube clips allow Levesque and Beuthin to demonstrate the products and put a face to the online store. That work is supported by a daily presence on Facebook, Twitter, and a store blog.
As the site evolves, Levesque is focused on making the entire online experience easier for the consumer. They are working on a new feature that showcases a daily deal and implementing a rewards system where customers get points for every purchase that they can redeem for products.
The overall experience on the show was positive, if not a little scary, Levesque says. He hadn't presented a business plan to a panel of experts since his time at Royal Roads University and the pair was keen to prepare for the onslaught of questions. They gathered a panel of business experts they thought would make great Dragon's for practice.
"They were worse than the dragons," he says with a laugh. "When you are pitching your business in front of these successful business people it's a good experience because they talk to us about what they think about the idea and can validate what you are doing."
It was a good exercise in ensuring their business plan was solid, and thinking of ways to pitch the plan to investors in a way that would stand out, he says. What will come of the experience in terms of investment won't be publicaly known until Sept. 21, ending a five-month waiting game for the MASC men.
Levesque and Beuthin will be featured as part of the online content for CBC's Dragon's Den Wednesday, Sept. 21 at www.cbc.ca/dragonsden.