The fast-growing company pitched to the dragons in an episode that aired two weeks ago on CBC, but claimed that the eight-percent-for-$100,000 deal they made with Croxon fell through. Founder Marc Vachon indicated that Croxon couldn’t offer them the kind of time commitment they were looking for.
Not so, says Croxon. In typically polite Canadian fashion the former CEO of LavaLife praised both Vachon and his fiancé cofounder Edith Bisson before he expained his side of the story.
“I really like them as entrepreneurs, I really like them as a couple and I really like them as business people,” Croxon told Techvibes. “So when I read that it was a question of me not being able to give them enough time and focus I was surprised because when I’m into something I’m into something and I made that pretty clear to them.”
If it wasn’t already apparent on television, Croxon is a genuinely nice person. In fact, after the initial article was published on Techvibes April 15 he tweeted: "not exactly what went down but happy for their success http://www.techvibes.com/blog/kangaride-launches-after-rejecting-dragons-den-offer-2013-04-15 … via @Techvibes."
From Croxon’s side of the story, he and Round 13 Capital partner Scott Pelton flew to Montreal following the taping of the show: “I pounced on it. They wanted me and I wanted to work with them,” he said.
“I left them with a challenge: Look, you’re a husband and wife team that basically grew this out of your home and I would be interested in partnering with you if you undertook and had a vision to grow aggressively and fast,” said Croxon. “They agreed to think that over.”
A couple months later Croxon received a phone call from the pair. They said they were interested in moving forward. “And I said 'perfect, let me know when and that was the last I heard of them.' That’s the real story.”
It appears that Croxon’s ultimatum was simple: work with him, possibly cede control of the business and rapidly accelerate, or “a very viable alternative” of maintaining control and growing at a slower, steadier pace.
The high-powered investor Croxon said Canada faces a situation where not enough capital is available for the amount of very good businesses. He sees 230 business pitches a year on Dragons’ Den and 160 of those make it on television. That’s a lot of startups vying for his attention.
“So one thing I’ve learned is that I’m not chasing after anybody. I’ll chase em’ once, but I’m not going to keep chasing them.”
He may not be chasing Kangaride but the investor believes they’re great entrepreneurs with a great concept, and he plans on re-connecting. “If they want to talk to me further, they’re still free to get back in touch with me—I’m still interested.”