Another Dragons' Den Deal Dies in Due Diligence

by Rob Lewis | Startups

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.

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Founded by a group of entrepreneurs in 1997, Communitech is an industry-led innovation centre in Waterloo Region, supporting a tech cluster of nearly 1,000 companies. Communitech supports tech companies at all stages of their growth and development – from startups to rapidly growing mid-sized companies and large global players. A member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, Communitech... more

Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

With MappedIn, your mall directory is transformed into an interactive and social experience. Users can access your mall’s directory using virtually any smartphone or similar device from inside the mall or at home. This directory is easy to update, and it’s usage is tracked simply and effectively. MappedIn allows you to attract even more visitors by advertising store specific promotions right... more

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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more

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