Dragons' Den

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Dragons' Den is a reality television format featuring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of venture capitalists. The show originated in Japan as Money Tigers or Tigers of Money ("マネーの虎", a pun on "Tiger of Malaya", the nickname of WWII general Tomoyuki Yamashita).[1] The format is owned by Sony Pictures Television.

Local versions of the show have been produced in nearly 30 countries, as well as one for the Arab world; in some countries, more than one version has aired. The most popular name for the show is Dragons' Den or variations thereof, a name that originated in the United Kingdom. The show has also been titled Shark Tank (a name that originated in the United States) and Lions' Den, and variations on those names, among others. In versions where the name of the show contains a creature's name, the investors are referred to as that creature.


The contestants are usually product designers or service operators who have what they consider to be a viable and potentially very profitable business idea, but who lack funding and direction. They pitch their idea to five rich entrepreneurial businesspeople, the eponymous "dragons" (or "tigers" in the original Japanese show, "sharks" in the U.S. and Israeli versions and "lions" in Germany and elsewhere). Before the show, the contestants have named a specific amount of money that they wish to get (along with a percentage in the business that the contestant is offering to sell to the investors), and the rules stipulate that if they do not raise at least this amount from the dragons, they get nothing. In return, the contestant gives the dragons a percentage of the company's stock, which is the chief point of negotiation. The program does not show the entire pitch as scenes are selected and edited from the episode due to time constraints.

The dragons probe the idea further once the contestant has made the presentation. This will either reveal a sound business proposition that the investor may become interested in investing capital in return for equity, or an embarrassing lack of preparation on the part of the contestant (such as the contestant's lack of knowledge of the business' profits or margins), the uncovering of troubling facts (such as insufficient sales or manufacturing margins) or other reasons which may play a factor in the investors consequently rejecting the investment (such as the investor asking for a larger equity stake in the business than the contestant wants to give up, the contestant's valuation on the business being too high compared to its overall profits, the product not having any proprietary value or the investor's belief that they cannot add value to the business). A contestant may give a counteroffer to the investors, if they feel their offer is not sufficient compared to the contestant's initial offer, which may also be subject to rejection if the investor feels the contestant asking for too high a monetary amount and/or an insufficiently low equity than the investor's previous offer.


Dragons' Den series have been produced in numerous different countries. Apart from Japan (where the show debuted) the show names, structures, and styles are based upon the UK version.


In Afghanistan, the show is called Fikr wa Talash. The show was produced by the Moby Group's strategic communications arm, Lapis Ltd, and aired on the Group's most popular channel in Afghanistan, TOLO TV,[2] reaching an estimated 7 million viewers in 2010.[3][4]

Arab world[edit]

In the Arab world, Dragons' Den was known as Dragons' Den: Al Aareen العرين (The Den). It was broadcast on the Lebanese channel Future Television and was hosted by Ibrahim Abu Jawdeh. The show received contestants from various Arab countries.

The panel of Dragons for the 2007 series consisted of:


Dragons' Den (2005)[edit]

The Australian version of Dragons' Den was broadcast on the Seven Network and hosted by Andrew O'Keefe. Different from other versions, the host ran through the outline of the business with the contestant then negotiating with the Dragons for a deal. It was produced by Michael Horrock. The Australian Dragons were:

The Seven Network announced in December 2005 that the show would not be back for a second season after poor ratings.

Shark Tank (2015)[edit]

The format was revived by Network Ten, under the American Shark Tank name, for a show that premiered February 2015.[5] The Sharks for this edition are Janine Allis (founder of Boost Juice), Andrew Banks (founder of Talent2), Steve Baxter (entrepreneur, investor, internet pioneer), John McGrath (founder of McGrath Estate Agents) and Naomi Simson (founder of RedBalloon). The show is hosted by Sarah Harris.[6] Unlike 7's previous edition, the show was successful and is returning for a second second season in 2016.


The Austrian version is called 2 Minuten 2 Millionen, which means 2 Minutes 2 Million. It debuted on Puls 4.


English version[edit]

Main article: Dragons' Den (Canada)

The Canadian Dragons are/were:

Seat Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6 Season 7 Season 8 Season 9 Season 10
1 Jim Treliving
2 Kevin O'Leary Michael Wekerle
3 Jennifer Wood Arlene Dickinson Michele Romanow
4 Laurence Lewin W. Brett Wilson Bruce Croxon Vikram Vij Manjit Minhas
5 Robert Herjavec David Chilton Joe Mimran

French version[edit]

The French version, Dans L'Oeil du Dragon (In the Dragon's Eye), began airing in 2012, hosted by Paul Houde.

The Dragons are:


The Croatian version of Dragons' Den called Zmajevo gnijezdo was scheduled to be broadcast in May 2007 on Croatian Radiotelevision and produced by Ocean Film, a local production company.

Contracted Croatian Dragons were:

  • Maja Pečarević - owner of Generalturist, the leading and oldest travel agency in Croatia.
  • Hrvoje Prpić - owner of Smee d.o.o, bamboo flooring company.
  • Davor Štern - owner of Trade Consulting d.o.o., business consulting company.
  • Juroslav Buljubašić - co-owner of Blue Line International, the international maritime company.
  • Branko Roglić - owner of Orbico, one of the leading importers and distributors of various consumer goods and toys in Croatia.

A few shows were filmed but never broadcast for undisclosed reasons.

Czech Republic[edit]

In the Czech Republic, the show is called Den D (The D-Day).

It first aired on 31 March 2009 on Czech TV (CT1 channel), in a very similar set up to the British version of BBC.

The show is hosted by radio host Jan Pokorny, and the dragon investors are:

  • Ivan Pilny - former GM of Microsoft in Czech Republic, Chairman of the Board of Czech Telecom and entrepreneur (1st & 3rd series)
  • Marta Novakova - founder and CEO of U&SLUNO software company (1st, 2nd & 3rd series)
  • Ondrej Bartos - serial entrepreneur, consultant and venture capitalist, Partner with Credo Ventures (1st & 2nd series)
  • Dana Berova - former minister of informatics, entrepreneur and Business Development Director of Gartner (1st, 2nd & 3rd series)
  • Tomio Okamura - Czech-Japanese entrepreneur in travel and retail, he brings Japanese tourists to the Czech Republic and sells Japanese products to Czechs (1st, 2nd & 3rd series)
  • Michael Rostock - investment banker and advisor with Venture Investors Corporate Finance (2nd & 3rd series)

The Dragons are/were:

Seat Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4
1 Ivan Pilný Michael Rostock
2 Ondřej Bartoš Ivan Pilný Margareta Křížová
3 Dana Bérová Petra Rychnovská
4 Marta Nováková John Vanhara
5 Tomio Okamura Michal Hanus


A Danish version of the show, Løvens Hule ("Lions' Den"), began airing in April 2015.[8] The five "lions" are Christian Stadil, Birgit Aaby, Tommy Ahlers, Ilse Jacobsen and Jesper Buch.


Lion's Mouth (2007)[edit]

In Finland, the first version of the show was Leijonan kita, which means the jaws or the mouth of a lion. The show began running on 27 September 2007 on the MTV3 channel, and aired for one season. It was hosted by Anna Sorainen. The local "leijonat" (lions) were Kyösti Kakkonen, Eero Lehti, Toivo Sukari, Lisa Sounio and Kaija Ward.

Lion's Den (2013)[edit]

In February 2013 the show re-emerged on the Nelonen channel, this time named Leijonan luola ("Lion's Den"). The show was hosted by Kirsi Salo, and the new lions were Riku Asikainen, Jorma Terentjeff, Ari Lahti, Anne Berner and Oskari Lehtonen.


The German version is called Die Höhle der Löwen, which means Lions' Den. It debuted on 19 August 2014 on VOX. The German Lions are:[9]

The first episode of the second season aired on 18 August 2015.[10]


An Irish version of the show began in 2009 on RTÉ One, the state broadcaster. It is presented by Richard Curran, Deputy Editor of The Sunday Business Post.

The Irish Dragons are/were:

Seat Order Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6
1 Niall O'Farrell Peter Casey
2 Bobby Kerr Ramona Nicholas Eamonn Quinn
3 Sarah Newman Norah Casey Sean O'Sullivan Sean O'Sullivan Ramona Nicholas
4 Gavin Duffy Barry O'Sullivan
5 Seán Gallagher Norah Casey Barry O'Sullivan Gavin Duffy

The Dragons have appeared on television in Ireland, in promotion of the series, on Tubridy Tonight, on RTÉ One. RTÉ started broadcasting show promos after Christmas as part of their winter line-up.

The first episode was broadcast on 19 February 2009.

A third season of Dragons' Den began airing on RTÉ One, on Thursday, 20 February 2011. Norah Casey was the new Dragon for the third season. Episodes at the end of the third season, for the first time on Dragons' Den in Ireland, showed the Dragons on tour visiting their past investments.

A fourth season of Dragons' Den was commissioned.[11] Sean O'Sullivan replaced Seán Gallagher.[12] Sean is co-founder at Avego Ltd, based in Kinsale.

For the fourth series of Dragons' Den, a live, interactive "Sixth Dragon Game" was developed to be played whilst watching the show, in which viewers are able to decide in real time if they're IN or OUT as the pitches unfold. The "Sixth Dragon Game" is the first live, interactive game for a TV show in Ireland.

Episodes of Dragons' Den are also now being shown on Dave every Wednesday at 7pm which means it is also available to audiences in Great Britain. Episodes began airing on 6 July 2011.


In Israel, Dragons' Den is entitled Hakrishim, which is Hebrew for "The Sharks". It is produced by Gil Productions and is broadcast on Channel 10. It is hosted by Guy Zohar. In the Israeli version, there are six dragons who rotate their appearance weekly. The first season was broadcast during the summer and fall of 2006. The dragons in season 1 were: Ze'ev Holtzman, Israela Shtier, Aviv Tzidon, Oded Dessau, Jacky Ben-Zaken, and Nir Sharatzki. The second season began being broadcast on Channel 10 on 24 May 2007. As in the first season, the dragons rotate their appearance weekly. Aviv Tzidon and Jacky Ben-Zaken returned from the first season and were joined by the following new dragons:


Titled マネーの虎 ("Manê no Tora" Money Tigers?), this is the original version. It was created by and broadcast on Nippon Television from 2001 to 2004. It was the first entertainment programme in the history of Japanese television that dealt with the concept of business investment. During its three-year run, as many as 16 business executives appeared in the programme as Tigers.[13]


In the Netherlands the show was broadcast in May 2007 on Nederland 3, every Friday at 20:25 (+1 GMT). The second and last season was broadcast in May 2008 on Nederland 3, every Monday at 21.25 (+1 GMT). As in the first season, it was hosted by Jort Kelder.

The dragons were:

New Zealand[edit]

Initially, the UK and Australian series of Dragons' Den were broadcast in New Zealand before a local version was produced by Eyeworks Television. It broadcast on TV One in 2006 and was hosted by Rawdon Christie. The dragons were:


Nigeria's adaptation of Dragons' Den was broadcast weekly in 2008 on the AIT Network and produced by Storm Vision.

The Nigerian Dragons were:


In Poland, the program is called "Dragons Den - How to Be a Millionaire" and is broadcast on the station TV4 since 2011. The biggest win in the program happened April 24, 2011 in the amount 15,000,000 PLN (5,500,000 U.S. dollars) [14]

The Polish Dragons in 2011 are:


In 2015 the Portuguese version of Dragons' Den, with the American name "Shark Tank", will be broadcast on the SIC Network. The Portuguese Sharks are:

The show will be recorded in December and in January.


There is a Romanian version of the format called Arena Leilor (Lions Arena). The Romanian Lions are:

The show started in 2007.


There was a Russian version of the show called KAPITAL.

Saudi Arabia[edit]

Saudi Arabian broadcaster STV1 showed the BBC version of Dragons' Den in 2010, then broadcast a local version in 2011.[15] It was called التجار, or "Traders". The dragons were:

  • Saleh Kamel
  • Ahmed Fitihy
  • Nashwa Altahir
  • Altaiar
  • Alhalafy


It was announced in May 2012 that new Slovenian broadcaster Planet TV, owned by Telekom Slovenije, will be showing a local version of Dragons' Den in Fall 2012. The title of the Slovenian version will be called "Dober posel" (Good Deal). It will begun to air from November 11, 2012.

The Slovenian Dragons are:

  • Branko Drobnak, Procurator at Alta Skupina d.d., a asset management, non-discretional brokerage services, corporate finance services, accounting and audit services company. He is part of The Business Angels Club of Slovenia and Non-executive Chairman of Acies bio d.o.o, a biotechnology contract research organization.
  • Borut Rismal General Manager, CHS d.o.o., a computer peripherals distribution company
  • Daniela Bervar Country Manager for Slovenia at Cotrugli Business School and co-owner of MEDIA LAB d.o.o. deal of the day business company.
  • Jure Mikuž founder of RSG Capital, a venture-capital management company
  • Matjaž Krč, a business angel and Managing Director at Ideus d.o.o., business consulting services for small and mid-sized companies.


The title of the Spanish version is "Tu Oportunidad" (Your Opportunity) and went to air on October 30, 2013 by TVE.


The British version was on air in Sweden for several years on TV8 and BBC Prime. A Swedish version called Draknästet (English: "The Dragons' Nest") was broadcast in 2009 on Sveriges Television.[16] A second season started in March 2010.

The Swedish Dragons 2010 are:

  • Mats Gabrielsson, who sold his IT firm at the height of the late 80s for over $100 million
  • Douglas Roos founder and chairman of nyheter24.se
  • Susanna Falkengren cofounder and member of Exipos Invest
  • Sven Hagströmer founder of HQ, Avanza, Investment AB Öresund and also in the board for the public companies Bilia, Eworks and Insplanet
  • Richard Båge, founder of Insplanet IPO in 2006, founder and chairman of Mediaplanet

Previous Dragons 2009:

  • Gunilla von Platen CEO and founder of Xzakt Kundrelation, a telemarketing company located in Sweden
  • Ljubo Mrnjavac sold his fast food company Pölsemannen 2002. Today active in real estate


The Turkish version of Dragons' Den is on BloombergHT. Baybars Altuntaş is one of the dragons.


In Ukraine, the series was called Акули бізнесу (Business Sharks) and featured Dragons such as future presidential candidate Serhiy Tihipko.

United Kingdom[edit]

Main article: Dragons' Den (UK)

In the UK, Dragons' Den is broadcast on BBC Two, which has exclusive rights to the show's format from its Japanese producers. The Executive Producer is Dominic Bird[17] and it is hosted by BBC Newsnight presenter Evan Davis. The Dragons are/were:

Seat Order Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5 Series 6 Series 7 Series 8 Series 9 Series 10 Series 11 Series 12 Series 13
1 Peter Jones
2 Simon Woodroffe Theo Paphitis Deborah Meaden Piers Linney Nick Jenkins
3 Doug Richard Theo Paphitis Deborah Meaden
4 Duncan Bannatyne Hilary Devey Kelly Hoppen Touker Suleyman
5 Rachel Elnaugh Richard Farleigh James Caan Duncan Bannatyne Sarah Willingham

United States[edit]

Main article: Shark Tank

In 2008, television producer Mark Burnett signed a deal with format holder Sony to produce an American version of the series. The series on U.S. television is titled Shark Tank.[18]

The U.S. network ABC ordered a pilot episode which was produced by Sony Pictures TV.[19] On October 9, 2008, a casting producer announced that The Shark Tank was accepting applications for a pilot, giving entrepreneurs two weeks to submit their ideas. The pilot was filmed from January 6 to January 9, 2009 in Los Angeles.[20]

On September 26, 2014, Shark Tank began its sixth season. The Sharks are:

Unlike versions of the show in other countries, the U.S version uses a rotating cast of six to eight "sharks" every season, of which five appear in each episode.

On occasion, guest investors fill in for a regular shark whenever there is a vacancy on the panel. Past guest investors include:

Season 1 Season 2 Season 3[22] Season 4 Season 5 Season 6
Robert Herjavec
Barbara Corcoran
Kevin O'Leary
Daymond John
Kevin Harrington
Mark Cuban
Lori Greiner

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tanaka, Yuki (1 September 2008). "Last Words of the Tiger of Malaya, General Yamashita Tomoyuki". JapanFocus. 
  2. ^ "Afghan Entrepreneurs "Dream and Achieve"". Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  3. ^ http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/social-entrepreneur-idol-do-good-reality-tv-in-afghanistan/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
  4. ^ Burch, Jonathon (1 September 2008). "Reality TV show stirs witch is dome business spirit in Afghanistan". Reuters. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "TEN confirms Shark Tank for 2015". Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  6. ^ http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2014/11/ten-2015-highlights-celebrity-drama-sport.html
  7. ^ "Daniele Henkel". Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Søndergaard, Tina (April 3, 2015). "Investorer til "Løvens Hule" afsløret" (in Danish). Trends Online. 
  9. ^ VOX Press Release
  10. ^ "2nd season of Die Höhle der Löwen proposed". VOX. 2014-10-08. Retrieved 2014-10-08. 
  11. ^ "Dragons' Den looking for entrepreneurs". RTÉ. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Kelpie, Colm (26 November 2011). "Latest Dragon breathes new life into show". Irish Independent. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  13. ^ ja:マネーの虎
  14. ^ ""Dragons’ Den - jak zostać milionerem" wiosną w Czwórce". Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  15. ^ Anil Wanvari. "SPT's Dragons' Den to air in Saudi Arabia soon". Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  16. ^ SVT pressrelease
  17. ^ Filotrani, Laura-Jane (23 September 2009). "Managing the Den". The Guardian (London). 
  18. ^ Sony, Burnett dive into 'Shark Tank', Variety [1] 13 February 2008
  19. ^ ABC to Swim With Burnett's 'Shark' [2] 4 September 2008
  20. ^ First Shark Announced [3] 28 January 2009
  21. ^ Introducing the Sharks [4] 30 March 2009
  22. ^ Mark Cuban joins 'Shark Tank' for season three - EXCLUSIVE | Inside TV | EW.com

External links[edit]