Dragons' Den is a reality television program format in which entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of venture capitalists in the hope of securing investment finance from them. The program originated in Japan, where it is known as The Tigers of Money (マネーの虎 manē no tora), a pun on "The Tiger of Malaya" (マレーの虎 marē no tora), the nickname of WWII general Tomoyuki Yamashita). The format was created and is owned by Nippon TV and is distributed 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 been 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 by that name.
- 1 Format
- 2 Versions
- 2.1 Afghanistan
- 2.2 Arab world
- 2.3 Egypt
- 2.4 Australia
- 2.5 Austria
- 2.6 Belgium
- 2.7 Canada
- 2.8 China
- 2.9 Croatia
- 2.10 Czech Republic
- 2.11 Denmark
- 2.12 Finland
- 2.13 Germany
- 2.14 Ireland
- 2.15 Israel
- 2.16 Japan
- 2.17 Kenya
- 2.18 Mexico
- 2.19 Netherlands
- 2.20 New Zealand
- 2.21 Nigeria
- 2.22 Pakistan
- 2.23 Poland
- 2.24 Portugal
- 2.25 Romania
- 2.26 Russia
- 2.27 Saudi Arabia
- 2.28 Slovenia
- 2.29 South Africa
- 2.30 Spain
- 2.31 Sri Lanka
- 2.32 Sweden
- 2.33 Turkey
- 2.34 Ukraine
- 2.35 United Kingdom
- 2.36 United States
- 2.37 Vietnam
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
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, who in most iterations of the show are referred to as "dragons", "tigers" (in the original Japanese show), "lions" or "sharks". 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.
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 Bamyan media with the help of the Moby Group's strategic communications arm, Lapis Ltd, and aired on the Group's most popular channel in Afghanistan, TOLO TV, reaching an estimated 7 million viewers in 2010.
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:
The Egyptian version of Dragons' Den is El Mashrou3 ("The Project"). The show was created in 2013 by Anna Elliot, the founder of the NGO Bamyan Media. It was broadcast on the national channel Alnahar and followed by approximately 4 million people. The program also created the biggest community of entrepreneurs through a digital platform connected to the show with 1 million participants. The panel of Dragons consisted of :
Dragons' Den (2005)
The Australian version of Dragons' Den was broadcast on the Seven Network and hosted by Andrew O'Keefe. Unlike in other versions, here the host ran through the outline of the business with the contestant before the contestant began negotiating with the Dragons for a deal. The show 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)
The format was revived by Network Ten, under the American Shark Tank name, for a show that premiered February 2015. 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. Unlike 7's previous edition, the show was successful and returned for a second season in 2016.
The Austrian version is called 2 Minuten 2 Millionen, which means "2 Minutes 2 Million". It debuted on Puls 4.
The Belgian (Flemish version) is called LEEUWENKUIL - meaning Lion's pit.
The English-language Canadian version of Dragons' Den began airing in 2006.
The Canadian Dragons are/were:
|2||Kevin O'Leary||Michael Wekerle|
|3||Jennifer Wood||Arlene Dickinson||Michele Romanow|
|4||Lawrence Lewin||W. Brett Wilson||Bruce Croxon||Vikram Vij||Manjit Minhas|
|5||Robert Herjavec||David Chilton||Joe Mimran|
French Canadian version
Past and present dragons include:
- Dany Vachon — co-founder of Impera Advisory Inc, PVG Partners LLC and Fusion Immunovative/NVNC
- Danièle Henkel — president and founder of Danièle Henkel Inc
- François Lambert — co-founder of Aheeva and Atelka
- Gaétan Frigon — executive chairman of Publipage
- Normand Legault (Canadian Grand Prix, Just for Laughs)
- Alexandre Taillefer (Stingray Digital, Téo Taxi, Voir, L'Actualité, etc)
- Serge Beauchemin
- Martin-Luc Archambault
- Mitch Garber
The Chinese version of "Dragons' Den" （合伙中国人）started airing in May 2016 on Shenzhen Satellite TV. The Chinese format is produced by Shanghai-based IPCN (International Programme International Network).
Past and present Chinese Dragons include:
- Bob Xu, co-founder of New Oriental Education and ZhenFund (Season 1-2)
- Annabelle Long Yu, CEO of Bertelsmann China (Season 1-2)
- Li Guoqing, co-founder & CEO of Dang Dang (Season 1-2)
- Yao Jinbo, Founder & CEO of 58.com (Season 1-2)
- Hugo Shong, chairman of IDG Greater China (Season 1)
- Zhou Hongyi, co-founder and CEO of Qihoo 360 (Season 1)
- Jerry Huang, founder and CEO of Gaudi Capital (Season 2)
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.
In the Czech Republic, the show is called Den D (The D-Day).
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|
Lion's Mouth (2007)
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)
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.
- Vural Öger (Season 1-2) — Travel entrepreneur
- Jochen Schweizer (Season 1-3) — Pioneer of bungee jumping in Germany, founder of a German web portal for adventure gifts
- Lencke Steiner (Season 1-2) — Chairwoman of German Federal Association of Young Entrepreneurs (BJU), Bremen head of the Free Democratic Party
- Frank Thelen (Season 1-4) — Managing director of a venture capital & private equity company
- Judith Williams (Season 1-4) — Shopping channel presenter and businesswoman with own fashion and jewellery lines
- Carsten Maschmeyer (Season 3-4) — Founder of financial services company AWD Holding and investor in technology and health care companies
- Ralf Dümmel (Season 3-4) — Head of consumer goods company DS Produkte
- Dagmar Wöhrl (Season 4) - Lawyer, entrepreneur and politician
The first episode of the second season aired on 18 August 2015. The third season launched on 23 August 2016, introducing two new presenters. A fourth season was announced for 2017.
The Irish Dragons are/were:
|Seat order||Season 1||Season 2||Season 3||Season 4||Season 5||Season 6||Season 7||Season 8|
|1||Niall O'Farrell||Peter Casey||Eamonn Quinn||Chanelle McCoy|
|2||Bobby Kerr||Ramona Nicholas||Eleanor McEvoy|
|3||Sarah Newman||Norah Casey||Barry O'Sullivan||Alison Cowzer|
|5||Seán Gallagher||Sean O'Sullivan||Eamonn Quinn||Barry O'Sullivan|
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 2008 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.
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.
In Israel, Dragons' Den is entitled Hakrishim, 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 ("Manē 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.
The premier of Lion's Den was in October 2016 on NTV. The show was sponsored by KCB Group, the largest commercial bank in East Africa. The format was introduced to Kenya by Quite Bright Films Kenya Ltd (QBF) who produce the show in Nairobi.
The Kenyan Lions are:
- Darshan Chandaria, director and Group CEO of Chandaria group
- Kris Senanu, venture capitalist
- Myke Rabar, entertainment Guru
- Olive Gachara, businesswoman in fashion and image consultancy
- Wandia Gichuru, businesswoman with own fashion lines and stores
In Mexico the series is called Shark Tank México: Negociando con tiburones or just simply Negociando con Tiburones, Spanish for "Negotiating with Sharks".
The sharks were:
In the Netherlands the show ran on Nederland 3 for two seasons. The first season was broadcast in May 2007, every Friday at 20:25. The second season was broadcast in May 2008, every Monday at 21:25. Both seasons were hosted by Jort Kelder.
The dragons were:
- Henk Keilman
- Annemarie van Gaal
- Jan Pieter Melchior (2007)
- Willem Sijthoff
- Arjen de Koning
- George Banken (2008)
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:
The Nigerian Dragons were:
In Pakistan, the program airs as Idea Croron Ka and is broadcast on Neo News. It is a joint venture between Chaudhry Muhammad Akram Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CMACED) at Superior University and Neo News. The first episode premiered on 18 March 2017. The main lead and driving force of this show is Nabeel A. Qadeer who was the Director Entrepreneurship at Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).
The judges include:
- Salim Ghauri, Founder and CEO of Netsol technologies (Pvt.) Ltd
- Naeem Zamindar, Pakistan Country Director and CEO of Acumen
- Humayun Mazhar, Founder, CEO and Chairman at CresVentures
In Poland, the program is called Dragons' Den – jak zostać milionerem ("How to be a millionaire") and has been broadcast on TV4 since 2011. The largest investment ever secured on the program was 15,000,000 PLN (5,500,000 U.S. dollars), on 24 April 2011.
The Polish Dragons in 2011 were:
- Maciej Kaczmarski, founder, "Kaczmarski Inkasso companies", "National Debt Register" and "Reliable Company", called the king of Polish recovery
- Anna Garwolińska, head of "Glaubicz Garwolińska Consultants"
- Grzegorz Hajdarowicz, owner of the "Group Gremi"
- Marian Owerko, CEO Bakalland
- Krzysztof Golonka, president of an investment fund "Xevin"
The Portuguese version of Dragons' Den has the American name Shark Tank. It is broadcast on the SIC Network. It began in 2015, and a second season is planned.
The Portuguese Sharks are:
There is a Romanian version of the format called Arena Leilor (Lions' Arena). The Romanian Lions are:
- Marius Ghenea
- Dragos Anastasiu
- Florin Talpes
- Mircea Tudor
- Mihaela Nicola
- Cristina Batlan
- Orlando Szasz
The show started in 2007.
There was a Russian version of the show called KAPITAL.
Saudi Arabian broadcaster STV1 showed the BBC version of Dragons' Den in 2010, then broadcast a local version in 2011. It was called التجار, or "Traders". The dragons were:
- Saleh Kamel
- Ahmed Fitihy
- Nashwa Altahir
The Slovenian version of the show was called Dober posel ("Good Deal"). It was aired by then-new Slovenian broadcaster Planet TV, owned by Telekom Slovenije. The show was announced in May 2012, and premiered on November 11, 2012.
The Slovenian investors were:
- 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.
Dragon's Den South Africa premiered on 23 September 2014 on Mzansi Magic. In a 2014 episode, Vusi Thembekwayo, one of the Dragons, signed his biggest deal, when he invested ZAR2 million in a Halaal abattoir owned by contestant Johan Jacobs and received a 40% stake in the business. There were two seasons of the show.
The South African "dragons" were:
- Lebo Gunguluza, runs Gunguluza Enterprises & Media which boasts 12 print publications, stakes in numerous hotels and a car-hire business.
- Vusi Thembekwayo, a motivational speaker and CEO of Watermark Pan-African Capital Ltd, with over ZAR4,32 billion in capital.
- Polo Leteka Radebe, CEO of Identity Partners, a small and medium enterprises advisory and fund management services firm founded in 2007
- Vinny Lingham, a serial internet entrepreneur from Cape Town with ties to Silicon Valley.
- Gil Oved, founder and co-CEO of The Creative Counsel, an advertising agency with over ZAR600 million in turnover per year.
In October 2016 the show was renamed to Shark Tank South Africa and premiered on M-Net.
The "sharks" are:
The title of the Spanish version is Tu Oportunidad (Your Opportunity) and went to air on October 30, 2013 by TVE.
The Sri Lankan version is called "Ath Pavura" (ඇත් පවුර), which means "Wall of Tuskers". It debuted on Independent Television Network on September 24, 2017. Unlike the other versions, the Sri Lankan version focuses on social entrepreneurs and impact investors.
The British version was on air in Sweden for several years on TV8 and BBC Prime. A Swedish version called Draknästet ("The Dragons' Nest") was broadcast in 2009 on Sveriges Television. A second season started in March 2010.
The Swedish Dragons 2010 are:
- Mats Gabrielsson, who sold his IT firm in the late 1980s 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 (Akuly biznesu, "Business Sharks") and featured Dragons such as future presidential candidate Serhiy Tihipko.
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 and it is hosted by BBC Newsnight presenter Evan Davis. The Dragons are/were:
|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||Series 14||Series 15|
|Simon Woodroffe||Theo Paphitis||Piers Linney||Nick Jenkins||Tej Lalvani|
|Doug Richard||Deborah Meaden|
|Duncan Bannatyne||Touker Suleyman|
|Rachel Elnaugh||Richard Farleigh||James Caan||Hilary Devey||Kelly Hoppen||Sarah Willingham||Jenny B. Campbell|
The U.S. network ABC ordered a pilot episode which was produced by Sony Pictures TV. 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.
On September 23, 2016, Shark Tank began its eighth season. The current "sharks" are:
- Robert Herjavec, who sold his IT security firm at the height of the dot-com bubble for over $100 million. Previously appeared on the Canadian version of Dragon's Den.
- Lori Greiner, President and CEO of For Your Ease Only, as well as host of a monthly show on the QVC Network.
- Kevin O'Leary, former co-host of The Lang and O'Leary Exchange on CBC News Network, formerly president of The Learning Company, which was sold to Mattel for $3.7 billion in 1999. Previously appeared on the Canadian version of Dragon's Den.
- Barbara Corcoran, self-made real estate millionaire who sold her company The Corcoran Group for $66 million in 2001.
- Daymond John, founder of FUBU.
- Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks and billionaire entrepreneur.
For the first two seasons of the series, Kevin Harrington was a regular shark. He was replaced in the third season by Mark Cuban.
Unlike versions of the show in other countries, the U.S. version uses a rotating cast of sharks every season, of which five usually appear in each episode, although all six sharks have occasionally appeared on a single episode. Also on occasion, guest investors fill in for a regular shark on the panel. Past guest investors include:
- Jeff Foxworthy, comedian and television personality.
- Steve Tisch, Chairman and Executive Vice President of the New York Giants.
- John Paul DeJoria, founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems haircare line and The Patron Spirits Company.
- Nick Woodman, the founder and CEO of GoPro.
- Chris Sacca, Proprietor of Lowercase Capital which has early investments in companies like, Uber, Twitter, Kickstarter and Instagram.
- Ashton Kutcher, American actor and investor.
- Troy Carter, Founder, chairman and CEO of Atom Factory
|Season 1||Season 2||Season 3||Season 4||Season 5||Season 6||Season 7||Season 8||Season 9|
|Kevin Harrington||Mark Cuban|
A Vietnamese version of the show, to be titled Shark Tank Việt Nam, is set to air on Vietnam Television in 2017. The "cá mập" (sharks) that have been announced so far are Trương Gia Bình, Vũ Văn Tiền and Trần Bá Dương.
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- Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway
- Redemption Inc.
- Shark Tank
- The Big Idea
- The Profit
- Win in China
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