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No $$, still fun for Buddyrider inventor
Although he didn’t get an investment from stars of The Dragon’s Den, Errington’s Colin Catton said appearing on the TV show was an excellent experience for him and his invention The Buddyrider Pet Seat.
“The exposure to the Dragons was very positive, we had a good response from them, an excellent response from them actually,” said Catton. “They didn’t feel it was a deal they wanted to get into, but they thought the product was a good one and it would sell nonetheless.”
The Buddyrider is a bicycle pet seat for dogs up to 30 pounds, that is mounted over the centre of the bike, making it easy to control, Catton explained.
Catton auditioned with his Buddyrider product for The Dragon’s Den in March of last year in Nanaimo. On the popular CBC-TV show, people pitch their business ideas and products to a panel of acclaimed business people (the Dragons), who may agree to strike a deal and invest in someone’s concept.
Catton made it through the auditions and was invited to Toronto last April to appear before the Dragons with his wife Diane. He had to keep the outcome a secret until it aired March 25 this year.
On the show, the Cattons asked the Dragons for $80,000 for 15 per cent of their company. On the episode, Dragons Kevin O’Leary and Bruce Croxon tested the pet carriers and gave positive reviews. They said it didn’t even feel like the dogs were on the bikes.
“I’m happy, the dog’s happy,” said Coxen as he rode around with one of the Catton’s dogs in The Buddyrider.
“I could see people getting into this,” remarked O’Leary.
In the end, the Dragons cited a couple reasons for not jumping on board with The Buddyrider: too many of the products would have to be sold to get their investment back, and there was too small a market for them.
But Jim Treliving agreed with O’Leary that Buddyrider would sell, and before he gave his notorious “I’m out,” he said: “I don’t think you need any of us to be perfectly honest, but knock on the door of PetSmart.”
Catton said since the show aired they’ve sold out of stock in Canada. They formed a company in the United States and their next plan of attack will be an advertising campaign down there, he said, “and then the rest of the world.”
The Buddyrider retails for $109 plus shipping and applicable taxes. For more information, visit www.buddyrider.ca.