Lights, camera, #paid! PHOTO courtesy BRYAN GOLD

From the DMZ to the Den

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By Laura Woodward

Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ) startup, #paid, will be featured on CBC’s Next Gen Den.

The startup uses social media to connect companies with celebrities to create sponsored product placement.

The co-founders, Bryan Gold and Adam Rivietz, filled out the online application in early November and received a call a week later to pitch their startup on Next Gen Den.

“It was a great experience. Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank are my favourite shows so it was crazy to actually go into the Den,” Rivietz said.

Next Gen Den is an exclusively online/mobile version of Dragons’ Den. The webisodes are only 10 minutes long, feature Canadian entrepreneurs under 40 and have a different panel of dragons – who are all under 50 tech entrepreneurs and have a combined wealth of more than $100 million.

“Here you will see smaller, riskier deals than we see on the broadcast show,” said Tracie Tighe, Dragons’ Den executive producer.

The dragons include Michael Hyatt, chairman of Bluecat; Michele Romanow, co-founder of and SnapSaves; Matthew Corrin, CEO and founder of Freshii; and Paul Miklas, CEO of  Valleymede Building Corp.

For Gold and Rivietz, the dragons were their “first real investors that we had a real conversation or pitch with. Everyone else, you know, they offered us money and were like ‘oh we’ll talk to you when you need,’ but that was our first real go at it,” Rivietz said.

The night before the filming, the entrepreneurs practiced pitching on air mattresses in Gold’s apartment. They also had the mentorship of Daniel Warner, creator of and co-founder of SnapSaves with dragon Romanow.

“We met him the night before  and he prepped us on what points to hit and how to perform and stuff like that,” Rivietz said.

Warner advised them to not “beg for the money. Be confident in your business and your evaluation.

Don’t just take a deal to take a deal.” The outcome of #paid’s experience with the dragons cannot be disclosed until the webisode airs on Feb. 2.

But Gold can say “[Being on Dragons’ Den] has built a lot of momentum for us. Just saying we were on Dragons’ Den gets investors antsy, gets them more interested.”

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